First in last out

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We usually use P&O to go to the Caribbean {since 2011} for the direct flights and great organisation in Barbados. But for a special event, my daughters wedding, we choose to go with Viking Ocean cruises. Part of this review highlights the differences but in no way can it be seen as a direct comparison that is not really possible. No direct scheduled flights left us landing in Puerto Rico at 11pm by the time we got to our hotel we had already lost a full day of the 2 nights pre cruise stay. Viking had changed our hotel at the last minute to one 20 minutes taxi drive away from Old Town San Juan {the change was unavoidable -works ongoing due to Hurricane Irma} so we decided to use the amble facilities of the El San Juan Hilton whilst the kids set about completing the legal paperwork for their wedding. The next day we were able to board Viking Sea early, grab some lunch and our two cabins were ready by 1pm everything was well prepared, clean and welcoming by the crew was very personable. Overnight onboard in San Juan allows us to see some of the old Town before my daughters wedding the next day. Wedding day started with rain but the crew were exceptional from the hairdresser to in particularly one of the officers on the embarkation desk supporting my daughters wedding dress from the ship, through the terminal all the way to the limo {which if you have not been is some distance}. Thankfully the liquid sunshine had stopped and we were on our way. To digress a little, we most thank Gina Rowan {yet again} and Viking UK Lynise, Sam and Luke who all helped to plan our day to go smoothly. It looked funny returning to the ship to do the muster with long wedding dress and suits within a broad demographic of the other 900 guests generally over 60 wearing shorts and tee shirts. Gina had arranged with Luke to book a private room in Manfredis for a wedding dinner. a much better choice as it turned out than the Chefs Table. Manfredis had prepared the room and the ship provided the bubbly we were on the Silver package so all drinks included to a limit {not sure what the limit was but we most have tested it :-)} The food was as good if not better than on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner it certainly was more personable with Marta leading the way. No sea days, so we went port to port through the eastern Caribbean taking up some free and paid for excursions provided by the ship plus the usual taxi / private tour to photograph the abundant wildlife found in the Caribbean. It was particularly nice to see Dominica and St Martin again missed last year due to the two cat 5 Hurricanes in 2017. life seems slowly getting back to normal but with clear signs of the true extent of devastation still evident. The ship appeared to suffer from the Tradewinds but not excessively... travelling overnight slowly to the next port may not have helped. What did we like about the Viking Sea? The frontline crews approach / personality where some of the best we had experienced The ship was cleaned everywhere to a very high standard Food was excellent with a wide choice though the Chefs Table was nothing to write home about as a speciality restaurant. First time on any ship we used the World Caf buffet at night simply because the extra barbecue specials put on at the back of caf were so good. We found it very easy to find seats for food, sunbathing and generally getting around the ship was stress free even on disembarkation. The spa area was excellent. being free helped of course What did we not like? The bar service was so slow and poor in the Viking bar {even when not really busy} we stopped going for a pre drink before dinner even though it is the nearest to the main Restaurants. We preferred the Explorer Bar on deck 7 which gave excellent service every time. The smaller quality ships tend to be first in and last out of port. Viking Sea at many ports was last in and first out. annoyingly this was also when P&O Azura was in one of the ports. Waiting a considerable time standing in the sun before an excursion would start though it was a nice approach not to have to collect stickers in the Theatre etc. Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our holiday on Viking Sea and certainly would consider them again if the itinerary and / or the occasion was right.

Review Details

Views:
347
Overall Rating:
Cruise Line:
Viking Ocean Cruises
Cruise Ship:
Viking Sea
Destination:
Caribbean

Review Profile

Times cruised before:
10+
Sailed:
February 2019
Age:
56-65
Cabin:
Balcony

Cruise Elements:

Quality of Food:
Entertainment:
Onboard Activities:
Cabins:
A little smaller than expected with limited drawer space
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