The itinerary was what we were looking for -- all destinations, no days at sea. We had been very satisfied with our previous Viking Ocean cruise (on the Sky, an identical ship). But Viking has definitely upped their game in the last 2-1/2 years. The service is impeccable, and the food is delicious (even if they could use a little more variety in the vegetables at the World Cafe). Manfredi's is to die for. And the library! I know it's not what one thinks of as a priority on a cruise, but it's nice to know that I don't have to pack books (other than for flights), given the beautifully curated library spread around the ship.
One way I think Viking could improve the experience is to ensure that shore excursions not only match the sites listed in the descriptions, but to offer more interesting included tours. The majority of them were a waste of time, other than transportation to good view spots. Several of the tour guides were either very, very slow, or provided inane commentary. Even one of the paid tours was led by someone who could barely walk 20 yards without huffing and puffing and taking breaks -- and was obsessed with churches and graveyards (not listed in the tour description). There is far too much time wasted on snacks and shopping. I'd rather see wildlife (frequently promised, rarely seen) and gorgeous scenery. Other than beaches, isn't that why one visits the Caribbean?
One difference between this cruise and our previous Viking cruise is that Viking has chosen to reduce the classical musicians from a trio to a duo. That makes a difference in the quality of the music. The pieces were written for quartets or full orchestras. This severe a reduction makes many pieces sound thin.
Our cabin was spacious, well-appointed, and spotless every time we came back to our room. We were in a PV suite, which has a small fridge that is restocked daily with soft drinks, beer, and liquor. Given that we don't drink beer or hard liquor, it would have been nice to have options (e.g., amaretto or wine) for stocking the fridge. I'm not sure I would pay the extra amount for a PV suite again -- DV is just fine, if a bit smaller.
Very nice crew but disappointing meal and drinks, not to mention a lack of variety and numbers of fish.
Far too slow -- we dropped out early and returned to the ship on our own.
Railway tour was very nice.
Historic Basseterre and Fairview house: We would have liked more time in the gardens at the Fairview house.
Sublime sceneryView All undefined undefined Reviews
Both tours were fine, but not exceptional.View All undefined undefined Reviews
We were beyond lucky, getting to see four sperm whales and hundreds of dolphins (three species). The catamaran crew was outstanding and kept us out an extra hour due to the extraordinary wildlife viewing.
Terrible guide (she couldn't walk more than 40 yards without huffing and puffing and stopping for breaks) and took us to churches and courtyards (not on the tour description and NOT interesting). Nelsons Dockyard is just a bunch of shops. Our lunch was overcooked and a bunch of unappetizing side dishes. The chairs and torture.
Bad timing -- we were there on a day the French side was closed to tourists due to protests and demonstrations. So our scenic tour included one lovely lookout, while the bus driver pointed out exciting destinations like Burger King and a hardware store on the way there and back.View All undefined undefined Reviews
The scenic drive was nice, but again, there wasn't much else. The dropoff in town didn't seem worth it.