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perlgirlnj

Help me choose. . . Please!

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I'm currently looking at two cruises, one Oceania and one Viking.  I've been reading all the x vs. y threads and of course I know it's subjective too.  But I'm still trying to weigh the pros & cons.  Background:  We have cruised the main lines but in recent years, we have cruised Azamara (fine but cramped cabin finally got to me), Windstar (meh), Seabourn (LOVED it) and Crystal (liked it a lot but not as much as Seabourn).  We're looking for a 10-12 day Caribbean cruise in January/February of 2021.

 

The Oceania cruise is 10 days in and out of Miami on Riviera to Eastern Caribbean.  Miami is a plus in terms of travel, but a minus in terms of there being 3 sea days.  Several of the ports are new to us (St. Barts, Martinique, Puerto Plata) which is a plus, and some are repeats (St Lucia, Antigua, San Juan).  I know the food is a plus on Oceania, and perhaps the cabin size is a minus?  Not really sure.  Not having a formal night is definitely a plus.  Not having included internet is a minus, but we could buy it I assume.  Likewise, drinks--have recently sailed with included adult bevvies, but could/would pay for it via package or one-off.  So that's a neutral, I think.

 

EDIT:  We generally don't do ship excursions so the cost of Oceania's (which I  understand is high) vs. Viking having an included excursion is not a factor for us.

 

The Viking cruise is 10 days in and out of San Juan on the Viking Star to Southern Caribbean.  Southern Caribbean is a big plus in terms of weather,  but travel is a bit more difficult.  All of but one the ports are repeats for us, a negative (only new one is Tortola; repeats are San Juan, St. Kitts, Antigua, St Lucia, Barbados, Dominica, St Martin) but no sea days is a definite plus.  I believe the food would be better on Oceania, but the design of the ship and cabins (which I think are bigger) appeals to me on Viking.  Internet is included, the drink package is reasonably priced (can't find pricing for O's drink package at the moment).  No formal nights either, a plus.  (Nothing against those who like to dress up--we certainly adhered to Seabourn's and Crystal's dressier vibes, but I'd be happier not having to.)

 

With 3 sea days, I'm very interested in learning what the decks are like on those days.  Are chairs hard to come by?  Are drinks hard to come by?  Is there a certain cabin class that has a dedicated quieter deck space?  Should we book a package (O Life w airfare?) or book the pieces separately?

 

I know nobody can come make this WONDERFUL decision for me, but I'm very open to info & opinions.  If there were particular threads I should be reading (other than searching Viking vs Oceania, which I have, I really have), please let me know.  Thanks.

 

And yes, I will post a version of this on the Viking boards.

Edited by perlgirlnj

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We just returned from an Oceania Riviera cruise to the Eastern Caribbean.  We have also cruised with Viking.  Our friends and I couldn’t help but compare this Oceania cruise to our Viking cruise. Viking is our all-time favorite.  We’ve also cruised with Azamara a few times.   We loved Viking’s bright and airy ship.  Lots of places to spend time enjoying the scenery and never felt crowded.  We missed having a walk-around promenade on the Riviera.  Not as many places to enjoy the outdoors on Riviera compared to Viking.   Food?  Tough call.  But we thought the red meats were much better on Viking and the seafood better on Oceania.  I’d probably take another Oceania, but there’s no question about Viking... absolutely. 

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Internet is included with Oceania  1 free account per cabin

 Depending on the cabin you choose  they are a bit bigger than the R ships  especially the W/C  in the regular cabins

There  are some menus of the bars  on this recent blog  it is the Marina but should be similar

https://www.thepreismans.com/marina19_menus.htm

 

Riviera photos before the recent refit of some  areas

https://www.cruisecritic.com/photos/ships/riviera-607/

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One account of unlimited internet is included at Oceania.

Choose the booze package as your O Life perk and you can upgrade to unlimited (except for the very top single malts/cognacs) booze for $20/day.

Oceania's R ship cabins are similar to Azamara though O's recent total makeovers have resulted in far more storage, showers with doors and upgraded cabin electronics (including USB charging) for the basic balcony cabins. The "O" ships regular cabins (A & B) are considerable larger than on the "R" ships including a selection of B3 ones with extended balconies (at no added cost) - see pic.

Do some research and see what the pros (e.g., Bon Appetit, Saveur, Forbes, Wine Spectator, et al., have to say about Oceania's food). As most folks who have compared O's food to other cruiselines will attest: it is the "finest cuisine at sea."™

 

And FWIW, where Oceania shines best is on longer journeys to more unusual places than the Caribbean. It's those cruises that attract its most cosmopolitan/well traveled passengers (who contribute so much to the wonderful experiences you'll share).

 

IMG_9874.JPG

Edited by Flatbush Flyer

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FBF has hit several nails on the head -- lots of solid info there but there might be a buried lede in that on Oceania the O-class ships (Riviera, Marina) and R-class ships (the rest) are different animals for cabin sizes etc.

I'd take another point a step further and say I'm not sure I'd splash out at all on a premium line for a Caribbean cruise. Go on a mass-market line, eat in the upcharge restaurants every night, and save a bundle.

 

One thing I'm getting more and more religious about is booking one's own air. You might save a ton. Even if you don't, you'll get the routing you prefer.

 

If included shore-ex aren't your thing (they are certainly not mine) then Viking, to me, would have less appeal than Oceania (or Azamara, another competitor in the premium space).

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One point  is O vs Viking is the structure of the cruise.     O is ala-carte, you choose what and when to do anything .   Viking  is a structured..package of their riverboat  SOP.   They tend to heard their passengers like a heard.     

 O is more french ambiance with  decor. to match.    Viking  follows the rather sterile Scandinavian  feel

Food....Viking very limited to 2 restaurants with a limited menu really into Scandinavian cuisine . Food  is average cruise fare     

O  has 6 different restaurants...French, Italian, Asian, Steak, Main dining room and La Reserve  wine dining experience. and really is vastly Superior to anything out there  at this time 

Really they are 2  vastly different products.     If you want your hand held and giuded every day... Viking is yours     If you want variety and choice  then Oceania would be my choice

Despite the heavy non stop ads proclaiming Viking " Worlds Best"....it ain't even close..

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1 hour ago, Hawaiidan said:

Despite the heavy non stop ads proclaiming Viking " Worlds Best"....it ain't even close..

Unlike Oceania (and Azamara), which created,  earned (and now defines) the status of  "premium" in the cruise industry, Viking built some cruise ships and self-proclaimed itself as a "premium" offering. Buying lots of advertising (in the publications that then give them accolades) has assisted them in that effort.

Seems to mirror the same tactics of Celebrity. 

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2 minutes ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

Unlike Oceania (and Azamara), which created,  earned (and now defines) the status of  "premium" in the cruise industry, Viking built some cruise ships and self-proclaimed itself as a "premium" offering. Buying lots of advertising (in the publications that then give them accolades) has assisted them in that effort.

Seems to mirror the same tactics of Celebrity. 

Seems to be a page from the Joseph Goebbels playbook...  "tell then anything you want, and do it over and over till they believe it."  To me  is seems Viking is just trying too hard  to blow their own horn....building lots of ships for ocean travel   trying to capitalize on their river boat past passengers and that , until recently, monopoly they held......   Their idea of cuisine and mine are miles apart.... I am not into open face sardine and herring sandwiches....Thank you.

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15 hours ago, dcsam said:

We just returned from an Oceania Riviera cruise to the Eastern Caribbean.  We have also cruised with Viking.  Our friends and I couldn’t help but compare this Oceania cruise to our Viking cruise. Viking is our all-time favorite.  We’ve also cruised with Azamara a few times.   We loved Viking’s bright and airy ship.  Lots of places to spend time enjoying the scenery and never felt crowded.  We missed having a walk-around promenade on the Riviera.  Not as many places to enjoy the outdoors on Riviera compared to Viking.   Food?  Tough call.  But we thought the red meats were much better on Viking and the seafood better on Oceania.  I’d probably take another Oceania, but there’s no question about Viking... absolutely. 

 

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OP here.  Thanks for all your feedback.  I did listen to it carefully, but pretty sure we've decided on the Viking itinerary.  When I went to research what we'd potentially do in each of the ports, I was not as taken with the Oceania ports as I had thought I would be, and the 3 sea days didn't help.  The Viking itinerary may have more repeat ports but I still like them better than some of the Oceania ones, and that swayed me.  We're still open to an O cruise when the time and itinerary line up right.  Thanks all!

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35 minutes ago, perlgirlnj said:

When I went to research what we'd potentially do in each of the ports, I was not as taken with the Oceania ports as I had thought I would be, and the 3 sea days didn't help. 

 

Makes sense to me. Itinerary is very important to me. Enjoy your cruise.

Happy New Year!

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You won't be sad about choosing Viking.  It is definitely a step above Oceania.  Ship is incredibly well made, well run, and the clean spare lines of the decor are soothing.  The snow room is fun, the "fireplaces" in the public areas are beautiful.  Spa is the best I've ever experienced.  Food is delicious and varied. Can't say enough good things about Viking.

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The biggest negative of Viking is they make you pay the entire fare a full year before your cruise departs.  I just can’t justify giving them that much cash, that far out. 

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Viking has recently conducted "Book now, pay later" sales. Maybe they're feeling the blowback from their ridiculous payment policy. I agree with kitty9 and will not sail with them unless a reasonable payment schedule.

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If you are comparing Viking to Oceania, you should be looking to the "O" ships, not the "R" ones. In the comparison, I loved the Viking bathroom, but found their stateroom smallish and relatively poorly organized with not enough closet and drawer space. Their public spaces are beautiful and it is nice to be able to access the spa. Their main restaurant on the Star was great, and I felt standards were scrutinized and kept up. (Saw the Chef often there) Their specialty Italian was very nice but the Chef's Table was pretty meh to me and I felt there were a lot of misses there.

 

Where I found the big difference was in the passengers. O has a very well travelled clientele and it is a pleasure to meet people and share tables with them. On Viking the idea of sharing a table with strangers seem unworkable. On numerous times I saw people (men!) wearing shorts and baseball caps to the main or specialty  restaurant. I don't want to be snobbish, but ...

 

I have found my experience in O to be much more pleasurable. And the tours? I was very disappointed in them in Viking.

 

Mia

 

 

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We are Crystal Cruise cheer leaders.  Like Oceania.  We took a Viking this past fall.  Weren't too thrilled but the itinerary suited us.  Well were we surprised.  We loved it!!  Missed the lectures but found out from fellow passengers  that these lectures were very poor compared to others. Go for it.  We absolutely would travel with them again.  Especially the cabin size.  

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On 1/1/2020 at 10:03 AM, perlgirlnj said:

OP here.  Thanks for all your feedback.  I did listen to it carefully, but pretty sure we've decided on the Viking itinerary.  When I went to research what we'd potentially do in each of the ports, I was not as taken with the Oceania ports as I had thought I would be, and the 3 sea days didn't help.  The Viking itinerary may have more repeat ports but I still like them better than some of the Oceania ones, and that swayed me.  We're still open to an O cruise when the time and itinerary line up right.  Thanks all!

Smart decision.  Itinerary should be the deciding factor.  Enjoy!

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