Stellar Cruise Line by mcolvinSail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Viking Sea / Destination: Europe
The Viking Ocean Cruise Line has beautiful ships and very nice cabins. We have stayed in an Explorer Suite on two trips on two different ships. This cabin is much more space than we need, but the views are outstanding, so we spring for the luxury. In addition the walk-in closet makes the space feel like home instead of a temporary stay. One item to note for the Explorer Suites on the 3rd floor bow, there is a good deal of noise. In the evening/night you can hear music coming from the Star Theater below and when docking (which is often in the early morning) you can hear all the winches moving below. If you go with an Explorer Suite, other location choices may be better.
The service on board the ship is top notch. Despite the long hours worked by the housekeeping and restaurant staff, they genuinely seem anxious to please. I can not think of a request that was not granted. In addition, they did a great job of anticipating requests; therefore there was actually little to ask for. Having said this, one service area on the ship could use some improvement. This area is Excursion Staff. We found if we wanted to do something that was different from their established schedules, they were resistant and not terribly helpful. Often they would answer a question before I had completed explaining what I needed and thus didn't even understand the request. It seemed like their role was to get us into their specific excursions and were not open to anything else. This inflexibility actually caused us to book fewer excursions than we had wanted to.
Since this was our second ocean cruise with Viking, I was able to compare the two ships and trips. Both ships are very similar; however I did find small things missing from the second trip (Viking Sea) that made the trip on the Viking Star just a notch above. Some of these small things were hot towels that were offered upon return from each excursion, antibacterial hand wipes handed out on all bus trips, cocktails of the day listed in the Viking Daily news, and the frequent presence of the captain and cruise director among passengers. One final note for improvement is the folks who answer the phones in Los Angeles. I was given incorrect information on more than one occasion and more than once when I needed help with information or the operation of the website, the customer service department either did not respond at all or responded incorrectly. It has given me the impression that once the sale is made, the employees no longer are invested in helping. Perhaps this is a reflection of how pay incentives work. I don't really know why this occurs, but I experienced this type of problem with each cruise.
Despite these complaints, we were very satisfied with the trip and would absolutely recommend Viking Ocean cruises as well as this specific itinerary. We enjoyed the trip enough, that we have already put a deposit on a Viking River cruise.