A number of people contacted me after I wrote about the editors at Cruise Critic picking the Viking Star (Viking’s first ocean-going cruise ship) as the "Best New Cruise Ship" for 2015.
Cruise passengers and crew members brought to my attention that there have been problems with the Viking Star from day one. They mentioned "technical" issues like the failure of the propulsion systems only five months in service. Apparently, no one from shore-side management from the home office appeared in Tallinn following the fiasco.
A major issue faced the cruise ship this summer when glass shower doors, that has been installed wrong, began exploding while in use, leaving passengers bleeding.
There has reporedly been a significant turnover of ship employees. Many crew members were not provided with written contracts until later and the financial terms were allegedly lower than verbally promised.
The new ship apparently did not have employment or technical manuals. Many crew members were told to bring manuals and procedures from their former cruise ship. There were inconsistent procedures from a mishmash of cruise line protocols. Some people even allegedly started to put Viking logos over the former logos just to have procedures.
Many crew members were frustrated that there seemed to be a general lack of experience of operating ships at sea rather than in a river. One person sent us a video of an anchoring mid fjord when the Viking Star almost ran aground.
Another reader talked about the scandal surrounding the Godmother for the new cruise ship, Trude Drevland, the mayor of Bergen City in Norway. She is recently under police investigation due to allegations of bribery by the ship owner. You can read an article here (it is Norwegian, so you will need to translate it). Among other things, Godmother Drevland is accused of being flown in a private jet, to Venice in June to participate in the launch of Viking Star. The air travel and stay at a luxury hotel were allegedly paid by the chairman and chief executive officer Torstein Hagen. You can read more details here.
In an industry which relies on marketing images and rave reviews, it appears that there is dirt behind the scenes that neither Cruise Critic nor the Viking Star owners want you to know.