If I could rate Viking with a 10 star review, I would. We were on the 30 day Australia, Indonesia, Asia leg of the Ultimate World Cruise. When we signed up for the cruise we were worried about wildfires, volcanoes, and possible riots in Hong Kong. Who would have thought we would be faced with the Coronavirus outbreak? The itinerary we signed up for was definitely not the one we took. The ports pretty much changed on a daily basis with our original disembarkation in Hong Kong, being moved to Singapore, and finally Bali. Because we needed to bypass China and Malaysia, we spent 22 days in various parts of Australia, visiting some very interesting added ports. We even sailed to New Caladonia.
The crew were short handed as many were not allowed to board in Sydney because of the regions they had came from, but the service was still excellent throughout the cruise. When we got to Indonesia things really changed, as we were not allowed to dock in Surabaya or Samarang because of a rumor that we had coronavirus passengers on board. We were also turned away from Bali for a day because of the same rumor, and then it all became political between the Indonesian countries. We had our temperatures checked in Komodo, Samarang, and Bali. Al three times everyone on board, including crew were deemed healthy, no fever. An executive from Switzerland flew out to negotiate with the Indonesian government in Bali, and we were finally allowed to dock in Bali for a day of tours and disembarkation. Who knows what that negotiation cost Viking, I am sure they paid dearly.
The main reason for the 10 star review was how well Viking went far beyond anything we could have expected to keep us safe and healthy. Our original air itinerary was changed 4 times, everytime with the intention of keeping us safe and out of Asian airports, thanks to the wonderful and capable people in Guest Services. Our Cruise Director, Beven, was remarkable. He dealt with the whole situation with humor, transparency, and an ability to keep us all feeling safe and calm throughout all of the uncertainty. We were all in the same boat, so to speak. We were always kept informed as to what was happening whenever staff knew.
The real downside was the flight from Bali, to Dubai, then home to San Francisco, 35 hours total, but again, to keep us safe. Since our flight left at midnight Viking put us up ia a lovely beach resort for the day, including a nice room and meals.
We met some amazing people onboard and everyone seemed to interact more openly with each other because of our shared situation, which was really nice. We almost cancelled the trip last minute, but we are really glad we didn't, as we had a great time overall.
This was our 5th Viking cruise and the entertainment was by far the best we have ever had.
The talent, from the singers and dancers to the cruise director, and the asst. cruise director were extraordinary.
The excursions were not the best, but with the constant change in itinerary, Viking did their best with last minute arrangements.
The food was varied and very good. They had to be creative, as provisions were sometimes delayed because of the port changes.
We were also nicely compensated with a very generous future cruise allowance. Overall, we are again greatly impressed with Viking and their regard towards safety for all of the passengers onboard. We felt much safer from the Coronavirus on board the ship than we feel being back in the US.
As the Captain reminded us daily, WASH, WASH, WASH, and take care of each other.
Thank you Viking Cruises!
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