Prepared by Brian & Donna Meads-Barlow 30th July 2018
It gave us great pleasure to be aboard Viking Orion during her first official cruise itinerary sailing Venice to Rome in July 2018, it was an amazing and new experience; I hope you enjoy the read.
Ports of call:
Venice (overnight) | Šibenik, Croatia | Bari (Puglia), Italy | Crotone, Italy | Messina (Sicily), Italy Naples, Italy | Civitavecchia (Rome)
Comfortable and intimate… thoughtfully created in a design to enrich your interaction with your destination in every way.
FACTS IN BRIEF
- 930 guests
- Length: 745 feet
- Beam: 94.5 feet Class: Small ships Year built: 2018
- On board currency: USD
- Weather: Warm | Seas: Calm
IT’S NOT LUXURY BUT IT IS!
People often misinterpret the meaning of luxury in the cruise industry but if you were to board Orion for the first time, you couldn’t be blamed for thinking she’s a luxury cruise ship.
Viking Ocean Cruises beg to differ however, they don’t market their vessels as a luxury cruise product; they’d rather you be the judge …and judge it, we did!
ARRIVAL – EMBARKATION
Because of a late engagement in Sydney, we arrived day two of the cruise during Orion’s overnight stay. A swift transfer from Venice airport had us join the ship mid-afternoon, just as shore excursion passengers were returning to re-embark.
Once paperwork (boarding passes etc) were approved, we were on board in no time; our stateroom of course was fully prepared and our attendant eager to meet us.
OUR STATEROOM ABOARD ORION
- Stateroom: 6088
- Category: Penthouse Veranda PV1 Deck: 6
- Forward – Starboard
Beautiful! That’s all! I’m a very practical person and as long as everything’s in its place; everything works and I never have to call Reception to report a malfunction, I’m happy J
OK, it’s a new ship, one wouldn’t expect issues? A lot of new ships do! …But not this one…
A PV1 stateroom is a Penthouse Veranda; marginally larger than a standard veranda (on an all veranda/balcony ship) we were situated on deck 6, overlooking balconies below. Well worth the upgrade in my opinion even if only for the extra space.
Our room attendant was very observant of my/our needs and whilst he was never in our face, he and his protégé took excellent care of our every day needs including restocking our daily bottled water supplies and minibar needs. The stateroom was made up each day beautifully and was complimented by a special turn-down each evening.
The bathroom consisted of a normal-sized shower – hooray! It was a treat to be able to move about without hitting against the Perspex cubicle. The design was important given the positive feedback Viking receives from its River Cruise clientele who share the same opinion – No poky bathrooms please! -Verdict? Quite close to the best I’ve ever seen on the seas.
The Buffet (World Café)
It’s arguably one of the best buffets I’ve encountered. World Café because the cuisine is international, served to you from a pantry-like setup …and it’s delicious.
(Casual) breakfast, lunch and dinner can be had here (lunch & dinner menus rotate daily); plenty of tables – no waiting – little or no queues at serveries. BONUS: Coffee is great!
…no washy-washy reminders on Orion, passengers were self-disciplined for better hygiene or perhaps it was more about the modern amenities on entry to each of the restaurants.
Discarded crockery/cutlery, napkins and the likes were quickly removed from tables; the table is wiped down and prepared for your next course.
As well, a very affective team of cleaners didn’t stop wiping handrails; vacuuming, cleaning windows and public bathrooms etc, even the deckchairs were wiped down between users.
Alternate Dining (FREE)
Each guest is guaranteed one alternate dining experience (booking), which is great as these restaurants are very popular.
…so popular in fact that we only dined once in the MDR, which was fantastic to say the least!
Bars were intimate, and again little or no queues. Waiters were quick to serve you typical international drink choices at your table where ever you were.
We took out a (Silver) drink package and it was well worth it. It meant we could drink any time of the day simply when we felt like it. And let me say, 35C temps – the Mojitos were well deserved!
That said, wine and beer (and soft drinks) are served complimentary with dinner!
As well as the ritzy looking apparel stores, Orion has your usual convenience-like shop that sells your bits’n’pieces type needs; chocolate & duty free items. Prices were a little exxy especially when compared with the prices on ports like Croatia and Italy. Nonetheless, the quality of clothing and jewellery is top class.
Orion is a small ship that’s big on amenities designed for those looking for relaxation alongside their exploration (Cruise Critic), and I couldn’t have said it any better.
Once again, there’s no fight for deck furniture although I did happen to see the usual reserved (by a towel or bag) sign but there were always plenty more available.
OK, so we’ve tagged a few pics! There’s really no better way to give you the feel than by showing you pictures but the crowd seen (or, lack of crowd seen around the ship) is indicative of daily outdoor life on board. That is, you’d never believe the ship was sailing at full capacity of 930 passengers unless you went looking for them.
CASINO | ART AUCTION
…none!!! Sad if you like that sort of thing but I felt the space was better used for areas better enjoyed by guests.
The Persian Room is one of the best I’ve seen, and it’s FREE. Steam rooms, Ice rooms and a fantastic Jetted pool -but it can get busy. It’s very popular so choose visiting times wisely according to those that aren’t seen most popular.
SPA Treatment prices are what you’d expect to pay on board any ship, perhaps a tad lower… remembering of course currency is USD.
We both had massages and rated them very good, in fact better than some we’ve had on many other cruises.
VALUE FOR MONEY? Good.
Laundry: Self-service launderettes including irons and ironing boards are located on Decks 3–6 and are free of charge, including detergent.
Internet: FREE WIFI throughout the cruise
Dietary requirements: In most cases, dietary requirements can be catered for. Guests requiring special diets (low salt, diabetic, gluten-free and low cholesterol) should alert us 90 days prior to departure and remind the Maître d’ when on board.
In-room Refrigerators: YES. Certain stateroom Categories include FREE Mini-Bar
The entire ship (including poolside, stateroom verandas and all public lounges and other areas) is NON SMOKING. With the exception of an outdoor, semi covered area that has been designated as a Smoking Area. It’s actually quite chic; has lounges and a communal table with around a dozen chairs… some say it’s the best place to meet up and gossip!
Viking Ocean Cruises has adopted the same principle that it offers on its River Cruises. That is, each guest receives a number of FREE shore excursions (City Highlight Tours, Walking Tours etc) and they’re well worth experiencing.
Given the number of unique/exclusive ports we visited, a morning guided walk was key to going back in the afternoon and exploring towns ourselves.
You’re able to participate in FREE shore tours, yet also participate in optional Book & Pay excursions that take port trips way beyond Old Towns -enjoying some of the best experiences you’ll ever encounter.
For example: We did the Conversano (Italy) Cooking Class. We weren’t sure what to expect but thought it’d be fun.
What did we learn? We learned that it’s good to relax amongst some very entertaining fellow cruisers but we finally learnt how to make pasta from scratch! …and yes, wine flowed continually throughout the educational.
We also took part in Messina & Its Treasures (Sicily), and a treasure it is. There’s no better way to explore Viking Ocean Cruises’ ports than to take-up their shore excursion offers – the guests we’d previously spoken to who previously decided to wing it, missed out on so much …to their admission.
Tipping is customary aboard Viking Ocean Cruises and Grats are not included unless otherwise described in a cruise offer.
In one word? Brilliant. I boarded with GREAT expectations and Viking Orion exceeded each. She’s new; she’s charming and like I said from the beginning: She’s NOT Luxury Cruising but she’s nine tenths…
We’ve rated Orion…a near record rating from us! Don’t take our word for it though, surf the internet… you be the judge!
For bookings on this fabulous cruise line – as well as inside info about the what’s to do/what’s not to do, please contact your favourite Personal Cruise Consultant at I Love Cruising.
We’re located across the nation. It’s not so much about making the booking with us; it’s more about the level of customer service that we promise along with some very special travel options including flights & accommodation.
I Love Cruising LOVES Viking Ocean Cruises – if you didn’t already pick that up
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