We had originally booked this as a Cuba cruise (until Trump put and end to that) but decided to stick with the booking after Viking offered some decent incentives. I love cruising having previously sailed with (Oceania x 2, Norwegian x 2, Celebrity x 2, Disney, Holland America, and Princess). We have sailed everything from the 4,000 passenger Norwegian Bliss to the 650 passenger Oceania Nautica, and I was excited to try a new cruise line with ships that sounded upscale and relaxed. The ship did feel upscale, and to say it was relaxed is a major understatement (more later).
Unfortunately, there were some significant disappointments for us most specifically concerning the food and service in the restaurants, the entertainment, as well as the extremely older age demographic. We are in our early 40s and were easily the youngest on the ship. Average age was probably 75, with most guests between 60 and 90. We knew we would be among the youngest, but this was still a shock to us, as the age of our fellow guests was quite a bit older than other ships we have sailed on (like Oceania and Holland America) that attract an older crowd. It honestly felt like we were sailing in a very nice retirement home. That said, they were generally a very friendly, well educated and respectful crowd.
1)The ship is every bit as beautiful as photos and videos online depict. There are a multitude of quiet places to escape where you may have an entire area to yourself. We spent lots of time in the Explorer's Lounge and also on the top deck of the ship where there are comfortable outdoor sofas with unbeatable views. The aft infinity pool area was also a highlight.
2)The spa was very upscale and beautifully done. We love nordic bathing (hot and cold alternating) and while the cold aspects could have been colder, it was nonetheless a highlight. Be sure to go in off peak hours though (like 6pm-8pm) as it can be VERY noisy (I think the older age demo means lots of shouting conversations in order to be heard).
3)Relaxation. Due to combination of lack of children, very few overhead announcements, no up-selling, and the fact you only need to provide your cabin number when ordering drinks, this was the most relaxed cruise experience we have ever encountered.
4) Service (not including restaurants). Most crew were very friendly and provided great service.
5) Mamsen's. We fell in love with the fresh waffles. Definitely the culinary highlight aboard (gelato a close second).
6) The wine list we found to be pretty good compared to other cruises we have taken.
7) Cabins. We had a Deluxe Veranda and it was one of our favourite cabins that we have ever stayed in.
1) Restaurant experience. We didn't care for the decor in any of the restaurants, finding them to be very beige and bland overall, especially the two alternate dining venues. Worse, the food varied from decent to pretty terrible. The much raved about Manfredi's was particularly bad. We had to send the soup back as it was inedible and the pasta was overcooked and sitting in a soupy sauce. I think if you get the Ribeye steak its probably pretty good (from what we heard) but we don't eat red meat. There is also a lack of vegetarian options (maybe 3 things each night on the menu). Worst maybe of all, whenever we were asked how the food was, if we didn't say that it was amazing the staff seemed offended and became defensive. They typically wouldn't even offer to remake it or to serve something else. I would say the food is about on par with what we have had in main dining venues on Norwegian or Holland America, but nowhere close to the food served on Oceania, nor in some other lines specialty restaurants. Perhaps this is due to the palates of the older crowd on board being salt averse. Most passengers seemed to really like the food, except for those people we spoke to under 60 who shared our opinion. We definitely had higher expectations.
2) Entertainment. Now we really didn't expect much from entertainment, knowing this is a small ship and its not know for big production shows. The big shows were actually fine, but the music otherwise varied from excellent (Viking Band) to the worst we have ever heard on a cruise ship (Viking classical duo). We really thought there would be top-notch ambient live music on board but sadly there was not. I should mention though that while it was the only late-night venue, Torshavn was quite a bit of fun and the Viking Band was excellent. The pool deck "Dancing Under the Stars" party was also quite well done. Sadly "Movies Under the Stars" was presented with the pool roof closed which really missed the point (and it wasn't raining).
3) Welcome aboard. Check in was quick and efficient but when we walked on board the ship we weren't greeted at all and had to ask the staff who were chatting with each other for a glass of the prosecco that was sitting adjacent to them on the table. Where was the warm "welcome aboard!"? The ship also departed port a couple of hours late, with no explanation, making the "sail-away" party fairly awkward as the ship remained tied to the dock throughout.
4) Cocktails. We had the silver spirits package which for us provided good value. We enjoy classic cocktails (Manhattan, Gimlet, Negroni etc) and found the quality on the ship varied massively with the bartender. We had to leave multiple Gimlets untouched because they were so terrible, yet the next day might have a perfectly good one. Overall though probably some of the worst cocktails we have been served on a cruise ship.
We enjoyed the relaxation offered by the Viking experience, but considering the cost of the cruise, the lack of above average food and entertainment, and often poor service, we don't think it was worth the price. We may consider Viking again in the future, but we will wait about another 30 years or so before booking so that we fit in a little better with the other guests.
Beautiful, spacious and very clean. We especially loved the large balcony and the gorgeous bathroom.
Highlight of the cruise!