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vslyko

Viking compared to Crystal and Seabourn

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Has anyone who has cruised on Viking ever cruised on either Crystal or Seabourn?  I have sailed on Crystal over 30 times as a single prior to 2014 but given their current state of financial affairs and lack of returning deposits and/or final payments since March, 2020 I am not likely to cruise with them again.  How does the food, service and amenities compare?  I do know one thing for sure and that is that Crystal had a great single supplement fare on many of their cruises while I think (but am not sure) Viking Ocean charges 200% on most cruises for single occupancy of a stateroom.  How easy is it to get a table for two (or for one) in the main dining room for dinner?  And how about in the specialty restaurants?  My most important factors in choosing a cruise line  (other than money not being refunded on a cancelled cruise) is the food and service.  Does Viking Ocean have fresh flowers on board--not for purchase--but on the dining tables and in the public areas?   I usually do back to back cruises and like cruises from 18 to 30 days.  Does Viking Ocean offer any discounts for back to back cruises?  Also if anyone has sailed on Seabourn has does it compare to Crystal and Viking Ocean?  I appreciate any comments and sure hope that we can all start cruising again soon--hopefully by next summer or at the latest early in 2022.  Thank You!

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Viking is very good value for money when you consider the newness of the ships, the ratio of space per person, and the quality/accessibility of good food without the added fees as compared to the larger brands.  
Seabourn is definitely a higher standard and can be considered ‘luxury’ based on the high level of service, availability of high quality food & beverage, and the higher-end attention to detail.

Viking ships are ‘newer’ but they’re all virtually identical apart from a few changes with the latest launches, although there’s mixed opinions on the necessity or purpose of taking up onboard real estate for a small planetarium, which IMO is more gimmick than usefulness when you consider that it’s the only ‘extra’ feature on any of their ships.  I’ve also noticed a significant drop in service quality onboard the ‘older’ ships which I’ve deduced is due in large part to the fact that Viking seems to move the experienced managers and crew to each new   ship leaving less experienced people behind.  

Seabourn is much smaller and albeit they’ve changed since being taken over by HAL, and although they don’t have the same adult only policy as Viking I don’t recall seeing any children or teens onboard due mostly to the lack of facilities and of course the price of the fare.  
Also, when Viking launched their ocean ships they managed to woo many senior Seabourn hotel staff across which is why you might notice many similarities in concepts such as Vikings attempt at a ‘welcome back’ which is more akin to something you would see on Carnival than Seabourn with the awful music and crew being herded out to the quayside to clap like trained seals but that’s likely due more to the fact it seems to last much longer due to the number of people being exposed to it as compared to the relatively smaller group on Seabourn.

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Crystal beats Viking on every front. First step on Viking I said to my BH “where are the FLOWERS?

Crystal  is warm while Viking is sterile Crystal includes all fine wines and drinks while most of the free wine is bottom shelf. Food on Crystal also beats Viking.

No comparing service where Crystal gets an A+ and Viking a B-.

Viking cabins may be larger but definitely cold and colorless.

Viking does have many nice public spaces.

 

It all boils down to your expectations.
For us it was one b/b on Viking and straight back to our beautiful comfortable Crystal

 

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We sailed Seabourn close after Viking and offered this comparison.

 

 

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Thank You so much for your input.  It looks like I will be considering Seabourn rather than Viking as I have been spoiled in the past by Crystal's standards and anything less will not "fly" with me.  

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1 hour ago, vslyko said:

Thank You so much for your input.  It looks like I will be considering Seabourn rather than Viking as I have been spoiled in the past by Crystal's standards and anything less will not "fly" with me.  

 

Did you review the link that Jim posted above regarding his comparison between cruises with Viking & Seabourne. You may also want to check out other reviews rather than basing a decision on a single post.

 

On many premium/luxury line independent reviews, Viking routinely comes # 1.

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1 hour ago, vslyko said:

Thank You so much for your input.  It looks like I will be considering Seabourn rather than Viking as I have been spoiled in the past by Crystal's standards and anything less will not "fly" with me.  

That's wonderful.  That will mean one less couple vying for the mostly full Viking cruise itineraries!  I do hope you enjoy it, but I do agree with Heidi13, don't just base your decision on one post.  Everyone has different opinions about the same topic!  I would encourage you to read as many as possible.

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Thank You so much Heidi13 and CCwineLover.  Naturally I will read and compare and look forward to any other opinions out there.  One question I have that has not been answered that may sway my decision is what is the single supplement for Viking and Seaborne (or does it vary by cruise/demand) and what are the odds of a single individual such as myself getting a table for two in the Main Dining Room?  Like I stated before Crystal has spoiled me and I would sail on them again except for the fact that it appears passengers who had put deposits down and made final payments on cruises that either they or Crystal have cancelled are having extreme difficulty getting their funds returned to them by Crystal, their Credit Card Companies or any insurance they may have had.  Again, I look forward to hearing from more C.C. individuals that may have an opinion on this subject.  Thank You!

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1 hour ago, vslyko said:

Thank You so much Heidi13 and CCwineLover.  Naturally I will read and compare and look forward to any other opinions out there.  One question I have that has not been answered that may sway my decision is what is the single supplement for Viking and Seaborne (or does it vary by cruise/demand) and what are the odds of a single individual such as myself getting a table for two in the Main Dining Room?  Like I stated before Crystal has spoiled me and I would sail on them again except for the fact that it appears passengers who had put deposits down and made final payments on cruises that either they or Crystal have cancelled are having extreme difficulty getting their funds returned to them by Crystal, their Credit Card Companies or any insurance they may have had.  Again, I look forward to hearing from more C.C. individuals that may have an opinion on this subject.  Thank You!

 

I don't have any experience with single fares, but at a guess, I doubt if Viking offer much, if anything - at least pre-COVID. With ships filling up 1 to 3 yrs ahead of departure, they really don't have any incentive.

 

With respect to tables for 1 or 2 in the MDR - the majority of the tables are 2-tops, so no problem getting your own table.

 

For refunds, Viking have been exemplary. We were on the curtailed World Cruise and Viking went above and beyond. When SE Asia was cancelled and replaced by other ports they immediately provided a FCV for 30% of the cruise fare. When the cruise ended in Dubai, we were unable to get flights home, so 8 of us were kept on the ships until Gibraltar. We were all provided the top Suites and were treated like Royalty onboard.

 

Although we only missed about 2 weeks of the cruise, they provided a full refund from Dubai, which was about 40 days. We could also have taken an FCV for 125%. Although we spent 99 days on the ship, we received about 70% of the fare back from Viking. Had we accepted the additional FCV it would have been about 80%.

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Viking offers a number of tables for two in the Chef's Table specialty room, and the Manfredi's Italian specialty room.

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Thank You so much Cienfuegos and Heidi13 for your responses.  I guess if Viking Ships are always full there is no need to offer a single supplement which is a shame (for me at least).  That is one of the reasons I choose Crystal in the past.  They offered a great single supplement especially if you booked right after the cruises were announced.  Naturally if you waited and the cruise was selling out they would bump the price up if you waited too long to book and make a deposit.  I am so happy to hear that you were able to get monies back on cancelled/altered cruises from Viking.  Personally, I think Crystal's reputation has been severely tarnished due to the handling and lack of refunds on cancelled cruises.  From what I have read they are doing everything in their power to garnish funds to repay passengers but from what I can tell people are waiting over 6 months and still have not gotten any money back--Ouch!!

 

I am glad to hear that Viking offers many dining tables for two as that will be a large consideration on which line I choose to cruise on the next time we are all able to do it again.

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11 hours ago, orchestrapal said:

Crystal beats Viking on every front. First step on Viking I said to my BH “where are the FLOWERS?

Crystal  is warm while Viking is sterile Crystal includes all fine wines and drinks while most of the free wine is bottom shelf. Food on Crystal also beats Viking.

No comparing service where Crystal gets an A+ and Viking a B-.

Viking cabins may be larger but definitely cold and colorless.

Viking does have many nice public spaces.

 

It all boils down to your expectations.
For us it was one b/b on Viking and straight back to our beautiful comfortable Crystal

 

 

Hope you won't miss them too much as they are probably insolvent. Sad. 

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I, for one, will surely miss Crystal if indeed they go under.  That's why I am considering other cruise companies such as Viking and Seabourn.  Under no circumstance would I give Crystal a penny right now as odds are you never get it back.  And yes I do know that right now Crystal is currently booking cabins without deposits or any payments.  Personally I think it is just wishful thinking on their part that somehow they will come out of their current financial situation with a mystery donor, buyout or merger.

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8 hours ago, vslyko said:

I, for one, will surely miss Crystal if indeed they go under.  That's why I am considering other cruise companies such as Viking and Seabourn.  Under no circumstance would I give Crystal a penny right now as odds are you never get it back.  And yes I do know that right now Crystal is currently booking cabins without deposits or any payments.  Personally I think it is just wishful thinking on their part that somehow they will come out of their current financial situation with a mystery donor, buyout or merger.

 

Crystal is owned by Genting Hong Kong, who own a few cruise lines, couple shipyards and resort properties. They have already defaulted on a couple of payments and the parent company has suspended all debt payments pending restructuring of debt.

 

Time will tell, if they can find re-financing, but they could be the 2nd casualty after CMV ceased operations in July.

 

Good luck with your search for another cruise line.

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Since we have never had the financial ability to sail on Crystal or Seaborne I can help with a comparison but I can tell you our experience with the single supplement. 
 

My DMIL sailed the San Juan to Barcelona transatlantic with my husband and I in March 2019 and only paid 150% of the single fare. This promo however wasn’t offered until December prior in order to help finish filling the ship-along with “free” air and a one category upgrade.  I do not believe It was offered on the Miami to Barcelona transatlantic two weeks later. So if you can wait until relatively last minute you can sometimes get a solo bargain. Of course you might also loose out completely if the sailing sells out. 
 

I would suggest asking about solo discounts on any sailing of course.  Also, as a new Viking customer, you should find someone who has sailed them before to refer you as this will save you a hundred bucks.  Additionally, I recommend finding a travel agent who will provide you with the maximum Onboard Credit Viking allows. For a 14 night cruise this is $300 pp (no credit for the additional paid as a solo guest sorry) or $500 for 15 nights or longer.  This obc covers the daily service charge and leaves some left over for a massage or hair appointment since you don’tdrink alcohol. 
 

On the four Viking cruises we have done, there have been a handful of solo travelers.  I have seen them dining alone at a table for two and on occasion joining a shared table. Not a requirement when dining but usually offered by the maitre’d. 
 

oh, no fresh flowers anywhere on board 😢

Edited by Clay Clayton

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Thanks for all the information Clay Clayton.  It sure does help.  It is amazing to me how different cruise lines handle single supplements.  With Crystal you had to book early once the cruise dates were released and with Viking you have to wait until the the last minute to get the best deal as a single.  As was stated in an earlier post that's probably because Viking sells out quickly on most cruises and has no need to reduce pricing to fill their ships.  And thanks for the referral "tip".  I sure hope both I and the referral person get some kind of bonus from Viking.  I'm sure that would be the way it works.  It does sound like getting a table for two for one is not an issue.  That's a very good thing.

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Most welcome-just paying it forward!

 

Below is a screenshot of the referral program.  The more financially rewarding thing is to find a TA who gives the max obc!

5149B508-8BC3-497A-BDC5-1E74D8126A7E.png

Edited by Clay Clayton

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Thanks Clay Clayton--Like you stated my TA always gives me On Board Credits but if I can get an extra $100.00 by using a referral I will take it too.  Hopefully the person who refers me will get some benefit also.  Money matters--at least in my opinion.  Thanks again!

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Hey Clay Clayton--I missed the attachment at the end of your post and it looks like the referral person gets $100.00 per person for referring me (or us as the case may be) to Viking.  That's a great thing for both parties--Yeah!

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3 hours ago, vslyko said:

Thanks Clay Clayton--Like you stated my TA always gives me On Board Credits but if I can get an extra $100.00 by using a referral I will take it too.  Hopefully the person who refers me will get some benefit also.  Money matters--at least in my opinion.  Thanks again!

Agreed. Just be sure they give you the max Viking allows.  Some do some don’t. 

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3 hours ago, vslyko said:

Hey Clay Clayton--I missed the attachment at the end of your post and it looks like the referral person gets $100.00 per person for referring me (or us as the case may be) to Viking.  That's a great thing for both parties--Yeah!

Yup.  And makes it nice in the future if you convince someone else to join you 

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Hi  slyko!!

 

 

Glad to see you are alive and well. Traveling to Antarctica and Tahiti with you was one of the greatest adventures of my life!

Steve

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On 9/7/2020 at 9:56 AM, Clay Clayton said:

(SNIP)

On the four Viking cruises we have done, there have been a handful of solo travelers.  I have seen them dining alone at a table for two and on occasion joining a shared table. Not a requirement when dining but usually offered by the maitre’d. 
 

oh, no fresh flowers anywhere on board 😢

 

I meant to comment on the maitre'd observation.  On both our Viking cruises, my wife and I were asked if we would like our own table, or would like to share a table with 2, 3, or 4 others.  That was true in the main dining room, and in the Manfredi's / Chef's Table locations.

 

Viking Ocean seems to place an emphasis on the hospitality side of the cruise experience. While I would have appreciated a baseball bat or Taser to encourage people to sanitize on the way into dining rooms, that might not fit into their hospitality protocol.

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Never was offered a shared table in Manfredi’s or Chef’s Table but almost always are offered it in The Restaurant.  

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