Our last three cruises have been on what we consider to be floating hotel resorts (large ships), so it’s been great to get back on a Viking ship – this time the new and beautiful Viking Neptune for a transatlantic crossing from Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale, that departed on December 22, 2022.
Viking Neptune Review
The original itinerary included Madeira, but it was changed to Gran Canaria to avoid bad weather. We also stopped at St. Maarten in the Caribbean, before reaching our destination.
We had an early embarkation which was speedy and efficient, and we only waited an hour before we accessed our Penthouse Junior Suite, which we felt was a little cluttered. We couldn’t really see the need for two TVs, barely a few feet apart, and to be honest, we would have preferred a little more storage space.
That said, the suite was tastefully decorated, the bed was really comfortable, and we loved the heated bathroom floor and the decent-sized balcony. We also loved the range of tv, music and movie channels available, as well as the excellent interactive information system.
Our stateroom attendant was friendly, efficient, and very helpful. We have the utmost respect for all of the lovely people who work so hard to ensure we all have a great cruise, and it’s fair to say, the staff on Viking are right up there with the very best.
The public areas are well thought out, comfortable and inviting, unsurprisingly with a heavy Nordic theme. We particularly like the many opportunities to look out to sea, with our favorite area being the Explorers Lounge situated on decks 7 and 8 at the front of the ship. The main pool area isn’t weather-dependent as it has a retractable roof.
Viking Cruises have two specialty restaurants – Manfredi’s and Chef’s Table, and depending upon what grade of stateroom you book, you are entitled to make free no charge reservations. Having booked a Penthouse Junior suite, we were entitled to pre-book three reservations in each.
The main restaurant was bright and also provided plenty of opportunities to view the sea. the World Cafe buffet never seemed to be crowded, and you could also have afternoon tea in the Wintergarden, late-night snacks in the Explorers Lounge, and of course, Viking also has a pool grill.
With regard to food on Viking – obviously, the quality was great, though talking to many of our fellow guests, they thought there was not enough variety, particularly those who had been on board for more than one cruise. Everybody, however, loved the steaks in Manfredi’s.
On the face of it, Viking cruises may seem expensive, but they do include a range of wine, beer and soft drinks at meal times, free internet, a free excursion at every port and gratuities, which makes the price more reasonable.
For this Atlantic crossing, Viking Cruises provided a variety of guest lectures, and there was plenty going on throughout the day, as well as the usual range of entertainment to suit most tastes – theatre shows, films and lounge entertainers. We particularly enjoyed the pianist Antonina and the guitarist Zeus. There were also a string duo and a house band.
The gym is situated on Deck 1 and is well equipped and spacious with brand new equipment and plenty of additional space for mat work, again with views of the sea. Regarding the spa, as I always say, for us it is hideously expensive and nothing we use.
There are a number of self-service launderettes on the ship, and the ship’s laundry and dry cleaning service is also good value (Laundry and dry cleaning is free if you have a suite).
Is Viking Neptune a Good Luxury Cruise Ship?
And I will start with the negatives. The service in the main restaurant and the range of food available did not match what we had previously experienced on our previous Viking cruises, and inexplicably, the only diet soft drink available was Coke Zero. We had to stick up while in ports – they didn’t even have diet tonic water. Also, we rarely saw the same person twice on guest services – unlike our cruises on the Viking Venus cruise ship.
All that said, the Viking ships are the best we have ever experienced in over 60 cruises, providing the best opportunities to experience the essence of cruising. We were also particularly impressed by the high level of service from a number of the bartenders and waiters who served us – Gojko, Daniel, Milosh, Mai, Algie and Bayou.
It is great to be on a cruise ship that doesn’t have staff continually trying to sell you something. We were also impressed that the points we raised on Viking’s early feedback forms were addressed within a couple of hours of our form being left at guest services.
The disembarkation process was easy and efficient. We boarded the Viking Neptune slightly jaded by our past three cruises on floating hotel resorts. We left this beautiful ship with our love for cruising totally revitalized, having had one of the best in over 60 cruises.
Viking Cruises was and remains our joint favorite cruise line, and we can’t wait to be back on the beautiful Viking Venus in January.