Destinations

The last word information to Viking cruise ships and itineraries

There are some cruise strains that attempt to be all issues to all folks. Viking isn’t one in every of them.

The upscale cruise model has carved out a distinct segment since its founding in 1997, catering particularly to a sure sort of considerate, inquisitive, typically older traveler who’s trying to discover the world and study a factor or two alongside the best way.

Most Viking clients are approaching their retirement years — or are already there — they usually’re desirous to lastly see all of the locations they didn’t have time to go to after they have been elevating youngsters and establishing careers of their youthful years.

For extra cruise guides, ideas and information, join TPG’s cruise publication.

For this subset of vacationers, Viking provides a variety of each ocean and river cruise itineraries which have a heavy concentrate on the locations visited. These aren’t cruises the place it’s all in regards to the ship.

Viking voyages deliver a whole lot of prolonged stays in ports the place passengers get extra time to discover historic websites and expertise the native tradition than is typical on cruises. The road provides included-in-the-fare excursions in each port, permitting each passenger on board to get a guided expertise throughout stops with out having to pay further. (Generally, Viking voyages are extremely inclusive, in line with its “no nickel-and-diming” philosophy.)

Viking river ships usually spend two days in Budapest, Hungary, on the Danube. VIKING CRUISES

On board, Viking’s programming revolves closely round what the road calls “cultural enrichment” — lectures by consultants on matters associated to the locations its ships go to, in addition to cultural and culinary choices that always have an area tie-in.

What Viking ships don’t supply is a whole lot of onboard amusements geared toward households and youthful vacationers. In actual fact, the road doesn’t even enable youngsters beneath the age of 18 on its ships. It’s one of many solely main cruise manufacturers on the planet with such a rule.

Viking ships additionally don’t cater to the occasion crowd. If it’s a floating celebration you’re in search of in a trip, this isn’t the road for you.

Join our each day publication

As Viking founder Torstein Hagen likes to say, a Viking cruise is the “considering individual’s cruise,” not the “consuming individual’s cruise.”

Associated: A newbies information to choosing a cruise line

3 issues TPG loves about Viking

  • Its focus is on locations and enrichment.
  • The elegant, Scandinavian-influenced design of its ships.
  • Its “no nickel-and-diming” philosophy.

What we might do with out

  • The shortage of health facilities on Viking river ships.

The Viking fleet

Viking has extra ships than another main cruise model on the planet, greater than 90 in all. It additionally has each ocean ships and river ships — one thing that’s uncommon amongst main strains. Regardless of this, it has one of many easiest-to-understand fleets.

That’s as a result of the overwhelming majority of Viking’s ocean vessels are carbon copies of one another. Should you’ve seen one, you’ve seen all of them. Ditto for the road’s river vessels.

Viking at the moment operates 10 ocean ships, eight of that are almost an identical. The exceptions are two just lately unveiled Viking ocean vessels particularly designed for expedition cruising — a kind of cruising that entails touring to distant, hard-to-reach locations on hardy vessels that carry their very own touchdown craft.

The eight almost an identical ocean ships — Viking Mars, Viking Venus, Viking Jupiter, Viking Orion, Zhao Shang Yi Dun, Viking Sky, Viking Sea and Viking Star — started rolling out in 2015 and every has the capability for 930 passengers. Yet another of the vessels is scheduled to debut later this yr, with three extra ships within the sequence coming in 2023, 2024 and 2025, respectively.

The 930-passenger Viking Sea. VIKING CRUISES

At 47,800 tons, these ocean ships are lower than a fourth the scale of the large megaships being constructed by the likes of Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises, in line with Viking’s concentrate on intimate, upscale voyages. Massive floating resorts, they aren’t.

Notice that one of many eight ships on this sequence, Zhao Shang Yi Dun, has been completely transferred to a three way partnership that operates for the China market. When it debuted in 2017, it initially catered to the North American market and was referred to as Viking Solar.

Viking’s two expedition ships, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, are smaller than the above vessels, as is typical for expedition ships, and carry 378 passengers at most occupancy.

The Viking expedition ship Viking Octantis. VIKING CRUISES

Then there are the river ships. Eventually rely, Viking had greater than 80 river ships in its fleet — an astounding quantity that’s the results of blistering development over the previous decade. (As just lately as 2012, the road operated simply 29 river ships.)

As famous above, nearly all of Viking’s river ships are of the identical primary design and are generally known as the Longships — a reference to the historic vessels utilized by Vikings within the Center Ages.

Most Viking Longships are 443 ft lengthy, the proper size to suit into the locks on a lot of Europe’s rivers. Viking has additionally constructed barely shorter variations of the Longships measuring 262 ft, 361 ft or 410 ft in size particularly to sail on rivers the place lock sizes or different navigational components require a smaller vessel. The 410-foot-long variations of the vessels, as an example, have been particularly constructed to have the ability to sail into the center of Paris on the Seine River.

A Viking Longship. VIKING CRUISES

Whereas most Viking river ships are Longships, there are a couple of exceptions within the Viking river fleet. Viking operates a number of smaller, purpose-built vessels on the Nile River in Egypt and the Mekong River in Southeast Asia, and it has a number of older river vessels that predate the Longships that function in Russia and Ukraine. (For now, river cruise itineraries in each nations are on maintain as a result of Ukraine struggle.)

Viking additionally just lately started sailings on the Mississippi River with a brand new ship particularly designed for the river and its tributaries.

Associated: The three forms of Viking ships, defined

Locations and itineraries

Viking has one of the vital numerous arrays of itineraries of any cruise line, largely as a result of the truth that it operates each ocean cruises and river cruises.

Viking has a very massive footprint in relation to European river itineraries, with a variety of sailings on almost each European river of any be aware.

You’ll discover Viking river ships working on the Rhine, Foremost and Danube in Central Europe; the Seine, Rhone, Dordogne, Garonne and Gironde in France; the Douro in Portugal; the Moselle and Elbe in Germany, the Volga in Russia and the Dnieper in Ukraine (as famous above, sailings on the latter two rivers are on maintain, for now, as a result of struggle in Ukraine).

A Viking river ship crusing on the Danube. VIKING CRUISES

Viking additionally operates river journeys on the Nile in Egypt and the Mekong River in Southeast Asia, and it just lately started journeys on the Mississippi River.

The road’s ocean ships might be present in almost each ocean and sea all over the world, from North America to Europe and Asia.

Viking’s ocean ships have a serious presence in Scandinavia and Northern Europe, which the road considers its house turf. (The corporate was based by a Norwegian household.) It’s additionally a giant participant within the Mediterranean. You’ll discover Viking’s ocean ships in different key cruise locations as properly, similar to Alaska, the Caribbean and Panama Canal, Canada and New England, South America, Asia and Australia.

Simply this yr, the road started its first cruises to Antarctica with its first expedition ship, Viking Octantis. The identical vessel this previous summer time launched the road’s first voyages within the Nice Lakes — a vacation spot that solely a handful of cruise operators go to.

Among the many line’s voyages, you’ll discover every little thing from eight-day cruises within the Mediterranean to 138-day around-the-world voyages.

Associated: The 5 finest locations you’ll be able to go to on a Viking ship

Who sails Viking

Most Viking passengers are North People who’re approaching retirement age or already retired. The corporate’s core market is individuals who vary in age from 55 to 75 years, though it does draw some passengers who’re youthful or older.

Generally, it’s an informed crowd, with many passengers coming from skilled backgrounds or a lifetime of working their very own companies. They’re usually individuals who have spent years centered on work and increase financial savings for retirement, they usually’re lastly prepared to start out having fun with the fruits of their labor by spending a few of the financial savings on journey to locations they’ve lengthy delay visiting.

They’re additionally individuals who can afford a comparatively high-end trip expertise. Whereas Viking doesn’t market itself as a luxurious line, some would name it that. Viking vessels are filled with luxurious touches, with the pricing to match (see extra on what Viking journeys value on the backside of this story).

Generally, you’ll discover a whole lot of {couples} on Viking ships and a few solo vacationers. You’ll additionally discover the occasional multigenerational group — a retired couple touring with their working-age grownup youngsters, as an example.

Nevertheless, not like almost each different cruise model, what you received’t discover are households with younger youngsters. As famous above, Viking doesn’t enable passengers beneath the age of 18 on its ships — a key differentiator for the model as in comparison with different cruise strains.

Cabins and suites

Is a balcony one thing you’ll be able to’t stay with out when staying in a cabin on a cruise ship? Viking may very well be your line.

Viking is among the solely cruise manufacturers on the planet that provides a balcony with each cabin on each ocean ship it operates — even the least costly, smallest cabins. That’s one thing that even essentially the most upscale of Viking’s ocean cruise rivals together with Oceania Cruises, Azamara, Seabourn, Silversea Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises can’t say.

Viking’s ocean ships additionally supply a lot of suites, a lot of that are fairly spacious. Even the smallest cabins on Viking’s ocean ships are massive by cruise ship requirements at 270 sq. ft, and the biggest suites measure almost 1,500 sq. ft.

Should you’re in search of a giant open room on an ocean cruise (and are keen to pay for it), Viking provides you loads of choices.

Associated: The last word information to Viking cabins and suites

Viking additionally provides a lot of balcony cabins and suites on its river ships, one thing that isn’t all the time the case within the river cruise enterprise, the place area on vessels is at a premium. Not like its ocean ships, Viking’s river ships aren’t all-balcony-cabin vessels.

Designwise, Viking cabins and suites throughout all classes are trendy and stylish in an understated form of manner, with Scandinavian-influenced furnishings and decor that tie to the Norwegian heritage of the corporate’s founder.

You’ll discover beds topped with crisp, white duvets and Scandinavian throws, snug up to date sofas and chairs in impartial tones, and light-wood desks and facet tables that mix to supply a residential really feel in bed room areas. Soothing, minimalist colours — assume lotions, grays and lighter blues — are the order of the day.

Bogs in Viking cabins are serene, modernist escapes with luxurious travertine-lined partitions, Scandinavian-influenced wood-veneered vanities, shiny white sinks and chrome fixtures.

A penthouse junior suite on a Viking ocean ship. VIKING CRUISES
An Explorer suite rest room on a Viking ocean ship. VIKING CRUISES

In step with the high-end nature of the model, Viking cabins and suites have a whole lot of upscale touches, from luxurious bedding that envelops you to heated flooring in bogs. The rooms aren’t overly flashy, although.

What they’re is eminently useful, with storage in all the best locations, a lot of shops for charging your units and lighting proper the place you want it. We love the studying lights constructed into the material headboards, that are along with the lamps on bedside tables. You received’t have bother seeing the pages of the Viking Day by day exercise publication whereas mendacity in a Viking cabin mattress.

Freyja toiletries on a Viking ship. GENE SLOAN/THE POINTS GUY

Different little touches in Viking cabins that present a line fascinated by performance as a lot as decor embody the massive and clear lettering on the Freyja toiletries that you just’ll discover in each Viking cabin rest room. The toiletries have been particularly designed with larger and clearer lettering than is widespread for toiletries on cruise ships and at motels in order that the road’s older clients would haven’t any bother differentiating the physique wash from the physique lotion and shampoo.

Eating places and eating

The variety of eating places and different eating choices that you just’ll discover on Viking ships will differ significantly relying on whether or not you’re crusing on an ocean or a river ship.

All of Viking’s oceangoing ships, that are a lot larger than its river ships, have at the least 4 and normally extra shops serving meals of some kind.

Each one of many line’s 930-passenger ocean ships has a most important restaurant (referred to as, merely, The Restaurant) with rotating menus that embody dishes that tie to the vacation spot the place the vessel is crusing. There are also informal buffet eateries referred to as World Cafe on each vessel. You’ll most likely eat most of your meals in one in every of these eateries.

The primary eating places on these ships are notable for his or her partitions of glass that may slide open to create al fresco eating, one thing that’s uncommon within the cruise world.

The glass-walled The Restaurant on a Viking ocean ship. VIKING CRUISES

Every of the 930-passenger ocean ships additionally has two smaller eating places with specialised delicacies: Manfredi’s, a high-end Italian eatery, and The Chef’s Desk, which provides a five-course tasting menu themed round a selected delicacies that adjustments each few days.

There’s no further cost for eating within the smaller eating places, however reservations are required. Every passenger is just allowed to make one to 3 reservations per cruise on the eateries, relying on which class of cabin they’ve booked.

Viking’s larger ocean ships even have poolside grills that serve made-to-order connoisseur hamburgers and different grill objects. Passengers can seize a snack — with a Norwegian twist — on the forward-facing lounges atop the ships, that are house to a small meals counter referred to as Mamsen’s. Named after Viking founder Torstein Hagen’s mom (Ragnhild “Mamsen” Hagen), it provides genuine tastes of Norway similar to conventional heart-shaped waffles, specialty truffles and the brown goat cheese that’s discovered across the nation.

The Chef’s Desk on a Viking ocean ship. VIKING CRUISES

Passengers can even discover finger sandwiches, scones and teas within the afternoon on the glass-topped Wintergarden lounge on the high of each vessel.

The road’s smaller expedition ocean ships, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, supply 4 of the above venues: The Restaurant, World Cafe, Manfredi’s and Mamsen’s.

Viking’s river ships, in contrast, usually supply simply two eateries: a most important restaurant the place passengers eat most of their meals and a smaller, informal buffet with indoor and out of doors seating.

Enjoyable truth: The Manfredi’s eating places on Viking ocean ships are named after former Silversea Cruises proprietor Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, a good friend of Viking founder Torstein Hagen. Some Silversea ships, in flip, have lounge areas named after Hagen.

Leisure and actions

Most of the actions on board Viking’s ocean ships revolve round “cultural enrichment,” to make use of a phrase usually utilized by Viking executives. On any given day, you would possibly discover an professional on one of many locations you’re visiting lecturing within the theater, or a classical musician performing within the central atrium, generally known as The Residing Room. The ships additionally supply some conventional leisure, together with manufacturing exhibits with singers and dancers.

On the road’s river ships, you’ll additionally discover onboard lectures, normally associated to the locations the ships are visiting, in addition to destination-related demonstrations and tastings. (On a Seine River voyage, you might need a tasting of native French cheeses or French wines, as an example).

You’ll additionally discover stay piano music within the evenings in river ship lounges.

Theaters, lounges and exhibits

Every of the road’s ocean ships has a theater at its entrance that’s house to manufacturing exhibits, film showings (with contemporary popcorn out there) and enrichment lecturers.

In step with Viking’s concentrate on cultural immersion, lecturers usually have experience associated to the locations you’ll be visiting in your crusing. The road additionally attracts a variety of attention-grabbing and achieved folks from all walks of life to function visitor lecturers, together with well-known lecturers, diplomats and even astronauts.

The theater on Viking Star. VIKING CRUISES

Along with the theater, a secondary lounge area on the ships referred to as Torshavn is house to musical leisure at night time. It’s additionally identified for an intensive assortment of Armagnacs, with one from nearly yearly of the previous eight a long time. (A enjoyable sport is to strive the Armagnac out of your delivery yr. Simply watch out — some years are far costlier than others.)

You’ll additionally discover musicians together with pianists and guitar gamers acting at occasions within the Viking Residing Room — a three-deck-high, atrium-like area on the middle of the ship. Stuffed with snug seating areas and residential to a bar, the Viking Residing Room serves as a central assembly level for passengers all through the day and night time. It’s additionally house to the ship’s Explorers’ Desk — the equal of a visitor relations space on different ships.

The Residing Room on Viking ocean ships. VIKING CRUISES
Viking Star’s Explorers’ Lounge at night time. VIKING CRUISES

There’s additionally stay music at night time within the Explorers’ Lounge, a two-deck-high commentary lounge and bar space on the very high of the ship. The Explorers’ Lounge is also house to Mamsen’s, the meals counter serving tastes of Norway talked about above.

The pool deck and different venues

The centerpiece of the highest deck of every of Viking’s ocean ships is the principle pool space, which is house to a pool, scorching tub and rows of lounge chairs, in addition to snug seating areas.

Your complete most important pool space is roofed with a glass magrodome that may be opened on brief discover on heat and sunny days — or closed if the ship encounters inclement climate.

The pool deck on a Viking ocean ship. VIKING CRUISES

Simply behind the principle pool space on every of the ocean ships is a beautiful, glass-topped lounge with snug seating referred to as the Wintergarden that’s house to afternoon tea. A den of serenity, it’s one in every of our favourite locations on these vessels.

A secondary pool space with an infinity pool is behind every of the ships.

An instance of the thermal suite areas present in Viking spas. VIKING CRUISES

Different inside areas which can be a part of the ocean ships embody a classy spa with a thermal suite space that’s open to all passengers at no further cost (one thing that’s not widespread on cruise vessels) and a health middle.

Notice that Viking river ships do not need health facilities, which is comparatively uncommon for river ships. Viking has lengthy argued that few of its clients use health facilities and the area that may be devoted to 1 is healthier used for different issues. Nevertheless, in the event you’re fitness-obsessed, Viking river ships is probably not the only option to your river journey.

Associated: The 12 cruise ships with essentially the most spectacular sights at sea

Kids’s program

Viking doesn’t enable youngsters beneath the age of 18 on its vessels and thus has no youngsters’s packages on any of its vessels.

What to know earlier than you go

Required paperwork

Viking operates worldwide itineraries the place a passport is required. Passports have to be legitimate for at the least six months. Notice that it will be important that the identify in your reservation be precisely as it’s acknowledged in your passport or different official proof of nationality.

Gratuities

Viking provides an computerized service gratuity (which it calls a “lodge and eating cost”) of $15 per individual per day to remaining payments, relying in your cabin class. In case you are sad with the service you obtain, you’ll be able to regulate this quantity earlier than disembarking on the Explorers’ Desk. (You can even improve the tip quantity if that’s the case desired.) Additionally, a 15% gratuity is added to payments at bars and for drinks at eating places.

Associated: All the pieces that you must learn about tipping on a cruise ship

Wi-Fi

As a part of Viking’s “no nickel-and-diming” philosophy, the road provides free Wi-Fi service to passengers on all its ships all through sailings. Notice that web service might be sluggish at occasions of heavy use, as is typical on cruise vessels. As well as, so as to guarantee honest utilization for all, the road limits some heavy-bandwidth functions, downloads and software program upgrades.

Associated: Wi-Fi on cruise ships: 5 issues to learn about web use on board

Carry-on drinks coverage

Not like many strains, Viking permits you to deliver your individual wine, Champagne, beer and liquor onto ships at embarkation with no limits. The road additionally doesn’t cost a corkage price.

Smoking coverage

On all ships, smoking (together with digital cigarettes) is just allowed in designated out of doors areas. It’s forbidden in cabins and on cabin balconies.

Laundry

Some Viking ships, together with the entire line’s ocean vessels (together with its one expedition vessel), have self-serve launderettes on cabin decks with washing machines, dryers, irons and ironing boards. The launderettes are stocked with detergent for the washing machines that, not like on many cruise ships with launderettes, don’t include an additional value.

As well as, most Viking vessels supply laundry and urgent companies. Such companies are complimentary for passengers staying in sure classes of cabins. In any other case, there are charges akin to what you’ll pay cleaners at house. Dry cleansing is out there on the road’s ocean ships however not on Viking river ships.

Viking’s soon-to-debut Mississippi River ships will supply self-service launderettes however no takeout laundry and urgent service.

Associated: All the pieces that you must learn about cruise ship laundry companies

Electrical shops

All the line’s vessels have commonplace North American-style, 110-volt shops in rooms in addition to European-style, 220-volt shops and USB ports in cabins.

Foreign money

The forex used on Viking ships is U.S. {dollars}.

Consuming age

You have to be 21 to eat alcohol on Viking ships.

Gown code

In the course of the day, there isn’t any particular costume code, and other people costume casually. If it’s a sea day in a warm-weather vacation spot, and also you’re sure for the highest deck, a short-sleeve shirt and shorts are simply superb.

Evenings have an official costume code, nevertheless it’s not too formal. The road asks passengers to maintain issues “elegant informal” when heading to any of the ship’s eating venues, performances or particular occasions. To Viking, which means a costume, skirt or slacks with a sweater or shirt for ladies, and trousers and a collared shirt for males. A tie and jacket for males are non-obligatory. Denims should not permitted.

This night costume code will not be enforced on the informal World Cafe eateries on Viking ocean ships, the place passengers can go much more informal within the evenings.

Associated: Cruise packing checklist: The last word information to what to pack for a cruise

Viking cruise loyalty program

Viking doesn’t have a loyalty program within the conventional sense — one the place passengers earn factors each time they journey with the model and progress by way of a number of tiers that deliver an ever-expanding array of perks. Nevertheless, it does supply a couple of primary perks for previous company.

When you journey with the model for the primary time, you’ll routinely be enrolled within the Viking Explorer Society. As a part of this society, you’ll obtain:

  • A credit score of $200 per passenger anytime you guide a Viking voyage inside one yr of your final Viking voyage. Should you reserve inside two years, you obtain a $100 credit score.
  • An invite to a members-only Viking Explorer Society cocktail occasion when crusing on Viking ships.
  • Early phrase by e-mail or common mail on new Viking Cruises itineraries and new ships, in addition to particular limited-time provides.

Notice that the credit talked about above can’t all the time be mixed with promotions the road provides.

Associated: The last word information to Viking’s cruise loyalty program

How a lot does a Viking cruise value?

Viking sailings aren’t cheap. Ten-night “Greek Odyssey” voyages to the Greek Islands begin at $3,799 per individual. That works out to greater than $750 per day for a pair sharing a room. A number of the line’s extra unique sailings similar to its expedition journeys to Antarctica value much more. Fourteen-night Antarctica journeys begin at $14,995 per individual — greater than $2,000 per day for a pair.

Associated: 6 methods to journey to Antarctica in luxurious and magnificence

Nonetheless, as is typical for cruise strains on the excessive finish, Viking features a lot in its base value. Along with a room on board and all meals, the fares embody beer, wine and gentle drinks with lunch and dinner; specialty coffees, teas and bottled water across the clock; shipboard Wi-Fi; and (maybe most notably) a shore tour in each port. The latter is one thing comparatively few strains roll into their base fares, and shore excursions might be costly.

A veranda suite on a Viking Longship. VIKING CRUISES

Viking additionally contains entry to the thermal areas of its spa in its base fares. Such entry nearly all the time comes with an additional cost on cruise vessels.

Viking fares do embody port taxes and costs, which may add as much as a whole bunch of {dollars} per crusing. Most different strains don’t embody port taxes and costs of their base fares and add them later within the reserving course of.

Notice that Viking does cost further for 2 key issues that many luxurious strains similar to Silversea, Seabourn and Regent don’t: alcoholic drinks at bars and gratuities. That is one motive some cruisers don’t think about Viking at fairly the identical degree as these different manufacturers.

Find out how to guide

Should you’re positive you already know what kind of cabin you need, on which ship, on which itinerary — and a few dozen different issues — you’ll be able to head over to Viking.com and guide instantly.

That stated, given the complexity of reserving a cruise — there are a whole lot of selections to make through the reserving course of, belief us — we all the time suggest that you just use a seasoned journey agent who makes a speciality of cruises.

A great journey agent will quiz you about your explicit pursuits, journey model and preferences, and steer you to the proper cruise line, ship, itinerary and cabin for you. An agent can even assist you if one thing goes fallacious earlier than, throughout or after your voyage.

Should you’re positive that Viking is your line, search for a journey agent who makes a speciality of journeys with the model. You need somebody who is aware of the entire line’s many itineraries intimately and, ideally, has sailed on or at the least inspected a few of the line’s vessels, too, to know the varied cabin varieties and onboard facilities.

Associated: Find out how to guide a cruise with factors and miles

Whether or not you employ a journey agent or not, make certain to maximise your bank card spending when paying for the cruise through the use of a bank card that provides further factors for journey purchases. This may very well be the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which provides 3 Final Rewards factors per greenback on journey and eating (excluding the annual $300 journey credit score). There’s additionally the Chase Sapphire Most popular Card, which provides 2 Final Rewards factors per greenback on journey (and three Final Rewards factors per greenback on eating).

Backside line

Viking might be outlined as a lot by what it isn’t as what it’s. It’s not a line for households with younger youngsters. It’s not a line that provides megaships topped with each form of amusement identified to people. And it’s not a line for the occasion crowd.

What it is is a line that has centered very particularly on “considering individual’s cruises” that provide a deeper dive into the locations that its ships go to than is typical at many strains. It’s all about exploring the world and doing so in consolation.

Planning a cruise? Begin with these tales:

Related Articles

Back to top button