Overall delightful but with a few glitches.

Viking Sea Cruise Review to Caribbean

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Reviews: 3
Helpful Votes: 76

Overall rating:

3.6 out of 5
Verified Review
Viking Sea

10 Night South America & The Caribbean (San Juan Roundtrip)

Sail date: February 05, 2018

Ship: Viking Sea

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 4067

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 3 years ago

Review summary

My only significant disappointment in the trip was the quality and handling of shore excursions. Viking needs to look at what other cruise lines are doing in the Caribbean. I think they have tried to use their river model and forced it into the ocean cruises. Overall, everything else was very goo

Embarkation

3 out of 5
It seemed like all 900 passengers arrived at once. I do believe around half got there in a one hour window. There was a single line checkpoint entering the terminal so we were outside an hour. Fortunately, our bus remained with us and allowed us to stay on the air conditioned bus until the line was moving. Once inside it was a pretty good hike but no waiting. I think this was a port problem that Viking should have anticipated since so many passengers arrive during a short window because of Viking Air arrival schedules. Viking should have made sure more port personnel were available. Check in was easy and quick once we got to that point.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
This would have been 5 star except for some of the availability of specialty dining. Italian restaurant was great the one time we got in. With a few exceptions food and service was great in dining room and buffet. The dining staff really stood out. It started with the restaurant manager, John, who really had his staff on the ball. Head waiters, Charlotte & Archie, were great. Waiters, Suraj & Simon, were professional and a "hoot" as well. The mentioned staff as well unnamed others were professional, happy, & fun. The food was really good in the dining room and buffet. It was the best ship buffet I've experienced. The only food shortcoming was bread and pastry. I felt we had more variety and better quality on a Viking River Cruise we took. House wines were exceptional.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
Couldn't get into the "Rat Pack." Beatles review was very good. Cruise director concert was pretty good. Broadway review was okay. We didn't participate in much else.

Entertainment

3 out of 5
See on board activities

Service and Staff

4 out of 5
Waiters, stewards, and most other staff were really great. I felt the Excursion staff wasn't always considerate.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
Sparkling clean and tasteful. Easy to get around. If you wanted "flashy," it wasn't. I think the ship was a bit "bumpy." We were told it was windy, but I think it may have been design or trim selected.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
Best veranda we've ever had. Mohammed was a great steward.

Ship tip

Don't assume anything is booked on board. Included excursions were only included if you specifically book them. They were free if you managed to get them booked. Our prior Viking experience was on a river cruise where these things just happened automatically. Not so on the ocean cruise. Included/free excursions would have been fine if you were tied up along a river in the central city as on most river itineraries. Caribbean ports weren't that accessible.

Ports of call

San Juan, Puerto Rico

1 out of 5
We didn't know we didn't have an excursion booked until after the fact. We actually did not intend to take an excursion since we've previously visited San Juan

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

1 out of 5
Walking area was rough cobblestones, broken up concrete, and uphill. Guide was hard to understand and not particularly good. Not a lot to see other than the governor's palace which wasn't particularly well presented. We had to do standby to get a morning excursion.

Cartagena, Colombia

3 out of 5
Only available excursion was afternoon. My wife chose to not go because temperature was 90+ F & scheduled for 3 hours. I went, and it was actually good. Only about 1 hour was walking on mostly level areas. Guide was very considerate stopping only in shady areas. The guide did a commentary from the bus which showed us a lot of the town and history while we traveled. Guide was outstanding. I would have rated this higher except for the problem with availability. Actual excursion was 4 1/2 star.

Santa Marta, Colombia

1 out of 5
Guide, Lee, mostly wanted to talk. He wasn't very informative. He drug the tour out. I don't think there was a lot to see there.

Oranjestad, Aruba

5 out of 5
One of my favorite places in the Caribbean. Our included excursion was on an open air school bus that was really a party bus. The driver/guide, Jahn, was really good. We listened to oldies music and his commentary as we went around the island. It has been about 10 years since we were in Aruba. The amount of development around the resort areas surprising.

Willemstad, Curacao

5 out of 5
My favorite Caribbean island! Tour with was excellent. We opted to skip the last part because we didn't want to walk back to the ship from town. Curacao still has an open, wild feel to it.

Basseterre, St. Kitts

4 out of 5
Captain Scotty, our guide, was delightful. He gave us a really good appreciation of the area and its development, culture, and government. I expected it to be like a lot of other underdeveloped Caribbean islands and was pleasantly surprised. I would have liked to have seen more of the island.

Disembarkation

4 out of 5
Well done but way too early for our scheduled flight. I think departure time was scheduled for Viking's convenience and not ours.
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