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Viking Star Cruise Review to Cuba

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 21

Overall rating:

3.9 out of 5
Viking Star

7 Night Cultural Cuba (Miami Roundtrip)

Sail date: February 21, 2019

Ship: Viking Star

Cabin type: Balcony

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review summary

We've taken about 20 cruises on Princess, plus also used RC, Celebrity, and a couple other small ones. Would say that food was way above Princess, service was below, both in cabins and especially in the restaurants. Good atmosphere on the ship -- people were there to learn about Cuba more than for the cruise experience -- although the free wine seemed to be VERY popular, even with this older crowd! Really liked the emphasis on the cultural experience, history, politics, economy, etc.

Embarkation

4 out of 5
It could have been perfect. Our flight was late, so by the time we got to the ship in mid-afternoon, there were no lines at all. But all assistance was to point us to where to get our Cuban visa (probably six people behind the counter to help us), and others who wanted to make sure we got our welcome drink (we're not drinkers). When we tried to head to our cabin, there was NO ONE around to help point us to the elevator or even to the right end of the ship.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
The buffet was consistently the best, in fact OUTSTANDING choice. In The Restaurant, their system of placing orders by iPhone could have been remarkably efficient, but instead ended up being extremely impersonal. One person would come with water, we'd say no, please bring sparkling water, then before that person could return, someone else would be pouring regular water. An order would be taken by Person A, delivered by Person B , then we'd be forgotten 'til Person C looked at his handset and saw that maybe we were ready for dessert. The Chef's Table was perfect the first time, mediocre the second time. Manfredi's was good, but no better than the other venues. The food in the buffet (including the poolside specialties) was consistently top-notch, and the roaming waiters were quick to fill drink orders and provide any other help needed.

Onboard Activities

4 out of 5
It's not an activity-intensive type ship. The port talks and historian's presentations on Cuba were fascinating, though the humor quickly got a little old -- but we learned as much there as we did on the tours themselves.

Entertainment

4 out of 5
Classy presentations around the ship, good resident musicians of all styles.

Service and Staff

3 out of 5
Room steward was good, pleasant, everything you've come to expect of a room steward. Special requests made on the first day were remembered throughout the rest of the week. Restaurant staff weak as described above.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
Beautiful common areas, never crowded. Unusual video displays as artwork throughout the ship were a pleasant surprise.

Cabin / Stateroom

4 out of 5
Clean, more than adequate storage space for a week-log cruise. Fantastic shower -- wish I could have that water pressure at home! -- and hot water always quick and plentiful. Shower drained well -- maybe a weird thing to comment on, but not always a positive feature on a lot of ships1

Ship tip

No advice -- it's a pretty typical layout with restaurants at the aft, theater at the front. It's a fairly small ship, so there are only two elevator banks -- pick your cabin location accordingly.

Ports of call

Miami, Florida Did not visit port

Only went to and from the airline terminal. (But we had a great driver on the trip in who talked about architecture, traffic, businesses, etc -- as good as any tour driver1

CIENFUEGOS, CUBA

4 out of 5
Did the overnight to Havana. Highly recommend this if you're going to spend any time in Cuba. The hotel was very nice, an embarrassment of riches compared to the rest of our journey. Had a lovely view overlooking the ocean. Breakfast buffet was outstanding. Cold War history tour was a disappointment -- small museum consisting mostly of photographs and some old military hardware outside, not much of a narrative by our guide inside. I doubt that we got much of an accurate picture.

SANTIAGO DE CUBA, CUBA Did not visit port

We were told that we could get into the port, but because of winds, we wouldn't be able to get out of the port in time to make it back to Miami.

Disembarkation

5 out of 5
Quick, orderly, did not require long waits like we've had on other ships. Pretty fast process to get on the bus back to the airport terminal, though I'm guessing a taxi would have been quicker and cheaper.
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