A Disappointing Start

Based on limited observations, service is not what we experienced 2 years ago on Orion sailing around Bermuda – when admittedly the ship was at 50% capacity.

Seated in two areas of the World Cafe yesterday evening we had to flag down someone to ask for water, or walk up to the bar to request the house wine pour. No one ever checked to see if we needed refills, and we put dirty plates on a table next to us where they sat apparently unnoticed.

After a good first night on board, in our very comfortable cabin, we decided to go to The Restaurant for breakfast on our first morning on Jupiter. On our only other Viking cruise around Bermuda The Restaurant won our hearts with its comfortable elegance and wonderful service. Perhaps with unrealistic expectations then, we were almost bound to be disappointed.

The staff had chosen to open only half of the space, presumably because of early excursions leading to lower numbers. They picked the starboard side facing the industrial port, rather than the port side looking out over beautiful landscapes. This also meant that diners had to walk through the disembarkation staff to get to the Restaurant, which was awkward.

Despite low numbers, we were still seated at one of the 737 layout two tops, closer than we would have chosen to other guests. Breakfast took 35 minutes to arrive, by which time the toast was cold, having been on the table for 25 minutes. My wife’s eggs Benedict were at best lukewarm, cold in places. There was no check to see if we needed more water – both our glasses were empty  – and no check to see if I wanted more tea, I had to ask.

It took several moments for me to realize that the loud “how’s it going?!” was directed at us. A couple two tables away had decided that they wanted to add us to their breakfast conversation – we’d not looked their way or made any eye contact. I mumbled something noncommittal and pointedly turned my focus back to the conversation we were having, keen not to encouraging further outreach. This is clearly a divisive topic in the cruise community: some passengers look forward to meeting and socializing with strangers as part of their cruise experience, that’s not our preference cruise or not.

After breakfast we popped up to the World Cafe to grab some fruit, and saw that we could have had our choice of nicely spaced tables facing the mountains, so I’m certain we’ll be having breakfast there from now on.