This was our second cruise with Viking Ocean Cruises,( the previous being The West Indies Explorer). Seven nights cruising the high seas with ports of call each day and a half day inclusive tour. Our ports of call were Athens (overnight) Heraklion, Rhodes, Ephesus, Troy and Istanbul (overnight). Tour guides were knowledgeable and friendly.
This was our first cruise post covid and everything from first flight to final touchdown went according to our scheduled plan. Viking staff were there to meet and greet us at the airport and we were soon on board the ship and in our stateroom.
The Viking Sky accommodates 930 passengers (all adults) housed in balcony staterooms, tastefully furnished and with ample storage. The en-suite shower room – featuring a heated floor – was sufficient for our needs. A shower cubicle with glass screen (no nasty plastic curtain to attack you!) had a powerful shower with ample hot water.
Food in all the restaurants was first class – both The Restaurant and the specialist dining rooms (no extra charge for these). There was always plenty of choice – meat, fish or vegetarian. The Buffet menu in the evening was similar to the Restaurant and it was never too busy. The speciality restaurants – Manfredi’s (Italian) and the Chef’s Kitchen (six course taster menu which changes every three days) were excellent with well designed, interesting menus. Staff were friendly, attentive and eager to assist. We especially liked Mamsen’s (for lunch) where the range of open sandwiches (hot and cold), cakes, gateaux and Norwegian waffles was excellent. This area too was never crowded and it was easy to get a table. The bar staff were attentive and both house wine and beer were available (free) at lunch and dinner. Cocktails were inexpensive – $7.50 for a Tom Collins. The Explorers Bar became an after dinner favourite for a speciality coffee.
There is a small enthusiastic entertainments team on board who provided a range of 45 minute shows on some evenings – the tribute to The Beatles was excellent and great fun and the resident musicians around the ship were talented and versatile. There was a wealth of things to do when not on tours – lectures, debates, talks, quizzes, – something to suit all tastes. There was never a time when outdoor deck areas were crowded and sun beds were readily available.
We liked the fact that it was ‘all inclusive’ (gratuities too) so there was no large on board bill at the end of the cruise. There was a small range of shops but no pushy sales people and no photographer. Internet was free and relatively fast (given it’s via satellite!) and easy to set up via phone and tablet.
If you want the razzmatazz of sailaways, loud music, bingo and a casino then Viking cruises are not for you. But, if you want a small cruise ship with minimalistic Scandinavian design, excellent food, hospitable staff and an eclectic mix of friendly fellow cruisers (mostly Americans, British and Australian) then Viking Cruises are worth considering. The concept of hygge is evident throughout the ship both in design and ambience.
All in all it was a very relaxing and immensely enjoyable – for us a highly memorable cruise. A perfect way to spend time away before the winter.