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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.

 

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.  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.)

 

EDIT:  We generally don't do ship's tours, included or not, so the excursion feature is not high on my list.

 

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 Oceania 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.  I think much of it has to do with Viking’s spacious ships.  Lots of places to be and never crowded.  We missed having a walk-around promenade on the Riviera. Viking’s ship are brighter, more modern and prettier.  Love, love, love Viking.   Food?  Tough call.  But we thought the red meats were much better on Viking and the seafood better on Oceania.  

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We just got back from South America on Viking Jupiter and we are huge Viking fans but we did the Mediterranean on Oceania Riviera and were favorable impressed.  Some thoughts to consider:

 

Riviera is an older ship but Oceania is refurbishing their ships - check to see when Riviera will be done;

 

Specialty restaurants(& Riviera has four) & the Terrace Cafe(their buffet) are far superior to Viking's specialty restaurants & World Cafe, though I would have to say the food was much better on Viking Jupiter than the Sea or Orion, especially sushi;

 

We are casual folks so we dislike dressing up - hence we very rarely go to the main dining rooms on both cruise lines, so formal night was not an issue for us - getting nicely dressed for the specialty restaurants was enough for the few evenings that we had; 

 

Alcohol - beer & wine are included w/ Viking at lunch & dinner if that matters to you - it doesn't to us since I prefer sparkling wine & that is not included, on Oceania alcohol is extra & expensive but you can order any non-alcohol drink(like a virgin pina colada) or any soft drink from the bar or pool and it is not extra.  Viking limits sodas to lunch & dinner;

 

On the Riviera we chose a basic cabin w/ floor to ceiling window, no verandah - I was pleasantly surprised that the room was slightly bigger than the standard verandah on Viking but the huge difference was the bathroom.  It was like a regular bathroom, the door to the bathroom is by the front door but when you entered the bathroom, you faced the sink, w/ a very small shower & toilet to the left of the sink, a very large tub w/ shower on the right of the bathroom.  The sink had a good sized vanity, however it was older cabin.  On this last Viking Jupiter, we were upgraded to a Penthouse Verandah which is really nice but the bathroom is still the same - still very nice but not very large.  Not sure what category of cabin you are comparing;

 

You mentioned that included excursions are not important to you so there would be a difference in price since you would not be paying for any included excursions on Oceania;

 

Internet - we didn't pay for internet on Oceania since we did their O'Life package - it was OK, but Viking's newer ships have great internet service & it was really good on the Jupiter(their newest ship) - not sure of the Star.

 

Just to give you background, we sailed Crystal in 2017 to Asia - loved the cruise, staff, excursions, etc did not like the formalness of dining every night w/ a group of individuals and found too many examples of passengers to be rude & very entitled, especially to staff & the people of countries that we were visiting.  Done four Viking Ocean cruises, three Viking River cruises, booked for two Viking River cruises in April, Viking Ocean to Southeast Asia in 2021, Oceania Nautica Athens in November 2020.  What we really like about Viking is once you book your air using Viking Air(so that you have some say in booking the flights), Viking handles all the transfer to & from the ports, etc.  Transferring from Buenos Aires airport to the port, from Valparaiso port to the Santiago airport were both long distances & not easy.  I was glad for a Viking rep to meet us.  If it's an easy transfer from the airport to the port, then I wouldn't be as concerned.  Hope this helps!

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22 hours ago, perlgirlnj said:

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.

 

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.  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.)

 

EDIT:  We generally don't do ship's tours, included or not, so the excursion feature is not high on my list.

 

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 Oceania boards.

 

We just went through the same process this Fall and chose a Viking Ocean cruise. It felt more like us. We have outgrown the mass market cruises which have changed since the mid-90s when wee started cruising. The need for a promenade walking deck is a must for us. From what we have read and learned, Viking looks perfect for us. The Viking Sky will be our 2020 winter vacation. I am excited. It’s even already paid for...of course!

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On 12/29/2019 at 6:17 PM, perlgirlnj said:

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.

 

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.  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.)

 

EDIT:  We generally don't do ship's tours, included or not, so the excursion feature is not high on my list.

 

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 Oceania boards.

 

After both working for and cruising with P&O/Princess, we had enough of the ever larger mass market ships and started looking for a smaller premium/luxury line, which provide the basic services that were available on the older liners.

 

We started by developing our Statement of Requirements (SOR) and then researched all the main premium/luxury lines. Short-listing to Viking & Oceania, we compared each to our SOR and the itinerary for their World Cruises. Many factors were similar, but the key factors for us were:

 - Ownership: Viking is a private company and the CEO is highly experienced in the luxury/premium sector, having ran Royal Viking Line back in the 80's. Oceania is owned by NCL, who in our opinion compete with Carnival as the worst cruise line.

 - Kids: Viking guarantee 18+, but Oceania accept them and on some sailings actually promote them. 

 - Casino: We consider them a waste of space. Oceania's casinos might be small, but they still take space that is available to all on Viking.

 - Ships: Viking ships are all < 5 yrs and are well designed with a Nordic theme. Oceania has 4 of the Renaissance Ships, which are now about 20 yrs old. Oceania currently has 2 classes of ships, with a 3rd class on order. Their ships are getting bigger, while Viking new builds are similar to the existing ships.

 

Since I am posting on the Viking forum, we determined that Viking meets our needs better than Oceania. Suggest making your own SOR and with research, you can determine which Line is a better fit.

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OP here.  Appreciate everyone who took the time to comment here.  After reading everything in both forums, I went back and looked at the itineraries more closely.  It turns out I didn't like some of the ports on the Oceania itinerary which I thought I would.  That plus 3 sea days (not my favorite) tipped the hand toward Viking.  We'll be booking it tomorrow. 

 

Any pointers on cabins, location, etc.?  Looking at a probable DV for location reasons.

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We have had DV cabins 4110 and 5049.  Both were excellent cabins.  I liked 5049 best as it was halfway between the 2 sets of elevators so you could choose the set that were going in the direction you wanted to go.  Both were probably equal distance from laundry.  

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16 hours ago, perlgirlnj said:

OP here.  Appreciate everyone who took the time to comment here.  After reading everything in both forums, I went back and looked at the itineraries more closely.   We'll be booking it tomorrow. 

 

Any pointers on cabins, location, etc.?  Looking at a probable DV for location reasons.

 

Been on 2 of these cruises.  Look at the perks you get for the DV as opposed to V and then look at the price difference and see if you think it is worth the extra money.  Many DV have the coffee maker removed so that just leaves you with a cashmere blanket and binoculars as the only physical differences in the two cabins. I have only been in V and they can bring coffee to the cabin through room service at no charge.  The V cabins are only on deck 3 with the V1 cabins in the front and the V 2 in the rear.  Had both.  I also like the fact that you can easily get places by crossing through the deck 3 atrium section.  The laundry rooms are on the port side.    

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I believe that the V2 cabins also get soft drinks and snacks replenished in their mini bar for free... not a huge deal, but useful at times.  

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1 hour ago, Liz Masterson said:

I believe that the V2 cabins also get soft drinks and snacks replenished in their mini bar for free... not a huge deal, but useful at times.  

I think you meant to say DV cabins - V2 are the cheapest with no replenished soda and snacks.

With any DV cabin, you can book excursions a week earlier and get one guaranteed reservation in each specialty restaurant.

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Another line to consider is Silversea. Small 630 passenger ships.  I've sailed with them a couple times.
Difference vs Viking:
Silver has butlers (A do not care for me; get great service from Viking room stewards)

Silver includes booze 24/7 (not a factor for me as Viking martinis are ~$9, cheap)

Silver charges $60 per person for 2 of their specialty restaurants, but they do have 4 included excellent dining choices

Viking pool area has a moveable roof which really expands its utility

Silver has a gorgeous cocktail lounge in the stern. Spent lots of time there lounging & reading, not necessarily drinking.
Viking has a far better 2 story Explorer Lounge in the bow

No included tours (I usually take optional $ tours with Viking; Silver tours "seem" less pricey than Viking)

We LOVE Viking's World Cafe buffet which expands into the pool area

 

I choose my line based on itinerary first, then price.

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