I recently returned from a fantastic voyage on the Viking Sea which sailed out of San Juan Puerto Rico and loved it.
Viking wanted to have their new vessels in the small ship category so built them to hold just over 900 passengers. This also allows them to get into some unique ports that are not available to the larger ships.
Since Viking started out in the river cruise business and have been wildly successful, they brought many of the same ideas onto their Ocean cruise ships. They listened to passengers complaints about being charged for so many extras like some of the larger cruise lines do that it was a welcome change to have so much included. These inclusions are beer/wine with lunch and dinner, specialty coffees, teas & bottled water, one shore excursions at every port, free wifi, use of the spa facilities which included a Scandinavian-inspired Spa circuit that consisted of a steam room, cold plunge pool, sauna, snow cave, whirlpool, hot tub and then if brave, could finish off with a swaying bucket of cold water dumped over you! It was such a great experience and one that I used at least three times on the voyage.
Viking also decided to do away with “inside” cabins so all their spacious cabins not only have an oceanview, but each one of them also have a private balcony which is wonderful spot to enjoy breakfast while sailing into port. The bathrooms were very sleek and modern with one of the more larger showers that I’ve ever used on a cruise ship. The minibar and coffee machine were well used too.
Also included are two specialty restaurants, one is The Chef’s Table which is a multicourse tasting dinner paired with select wines and the other is Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant serving freshly prepared pastas and antipasto accompanied by fresh seafood or special of the day. There is limited seating though and advance reservations are required. I ate a couple of times at these restaurants and it would be hard to pick a favorite as had great meals at both. If you’ve had a busy day and prefer a meal in your room, they also offer complimentary 24-hour room service. My travelling companion enjoyed visiting Mamsen’s which was located in the Explorers Lounge. They whipped up fresh waffles in the morning plus fancy sandwiches and lovely desserts at lunchtime.
Dreaming to do one of their world voyages ? If so, then you would like the self service laundry & ironing board available which sure helps on those longer cruises (they do have a paid laundry service if you prefer to have them do it)
Another event onboard that I really enjoyed was Afternoon Tea served every afternoon. It was so nice after a full day of touring to return to the ship and settle in to listen to the trio playing music while enjoying full leaf teas complete with a tiered tray of goodies and/or fresh scones.
No worries about inclement weather if lounging near the pool, the Viking Sea has this incredible retractable roof that can be open and closed in minutes.
The overall best of the cruise is the friendly staff and crew. They are so hardworking and went over and above to make sure that we had the best cruise ever.