Viking's West Indies Explorer was just the kind of cruise we were looking for. We like to spend more than one day in a particular area, which is hard to do on many cruises. The Lower Antilles brings a series of Caribbean destinations together in close proximity so we never completely left the islands, and we were able to visit a different one every day. Perfect!
Viking always offer an included excursion in every port. These always seem to focus on local geography, scenic points, and local culture. These are often not extensive in duration, so Viking arranges some much more immersive tours starting with some reasonably priced excursions into natural areas, historic landmarks sometimes recognized as UNESCO World Heritage site, or local industry or artists. For a bit extra we stepped up to a few more indulgent tours involving some great sailing on a catamaran, or special local cuisine.
Every cabin has a veranda, so we always had a quiet place with a fresh breeze to relax for an hour or just for fifteen minutes. The standard cabins aren't terribly large, but we never felt like we were cramped - the bath was arranged so effectively that even the shower had plenty of room. So much better than some of our cruises on other lines.
The ship, of course, was beautiful - there's something very simple and clean about Scandinavian design. It's pretty much our definition of elegant.
Viking's open buffet dining is about the best of any line we've tried, and the main restaurant always offers the opportunity to meet new people or have a quiet dinner as a couple. Every passenger has the opportunity to book one or more meals in a smaller specialized restaurant. The Italian dishes in Mancuso's are among the best we've had anywhere, and we've found some pretty wonderful places in Rome and New York. Somehow we overlooked booking before our trip but a young lady named Grace, on the restaurant staff, persistently watched for an opening to get us in and called to tell us. The service of the Viking staff is consistently excellent, and you can see that they're always happy to make you feel welcome.
This was our third Viking cruise, the first was along the rivers of central Europe, and the second in the western Mediterranean. Not a hint of disappointment with any of them. When I finally retire, we'll certainly take a few more.