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Viking ocean cruises review
Enriching adventures by land and by sea.
Ships for Viking ocean cruises are designed with a Scandinavian feel — big windows, natural light, earth tones and clean lines — for an audience that values refined, culturally rich experiences. Aboard, you’ll likely be in the company of baby boomers and couples who’ve left the kids at home.
Amy Stoltenberg is a staff writer covering all things travel, shopping and lifestyle. After earning a BA at Savannah College of Art and Design, she worked as technical designer in corporate fashion before opting for a career with unlimited travel time. When her laptop's closed, you can find her wandering around Los Angeles looking for hole-in-the-wall eateries and plotting her way to all 50 states (she's currently at 28).
On Viking ocean cruises, the focus is less on lounging poolside and more on seeing educational, historically significant sites — museums, ballets, palaces, castles, iconic landmarks. While docked, take a cooking class from a local chef or feast your ears at an orchestral concert.
If you get excited by museums, and educational activities set your heart racing, Viking’s ocean cruises will ultimately deliver. But if you’re looking for a resort experience that promises miles and miles of sparkling beaches with a piña colada in each hand, compare other cruise lines.
Where do Viking ocean cruise ships depart from?
Lift anchor on your Viking adventure at ports in the US or elsewhere around the globe, from Europe to South America and beyond. Here’s where Viking’s ships depart:
Amsterdam, Auckland, Bali Denpasar, Bangkok, Barcelona, Bergen, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Greenwich, Hong Kong, Laem Chabang, Lisbon, Los Angeles, Miami, Montreal, New York City, Pierre, Reykjavik, Rome, San Juan, Seward, Stockholm, Sydney, Tilbury, Tokyo, Valparaiso, Vancouver, Venice, Yokohama
Viking ocean cruise destinations
While Viking ocean trips traverse salty seas, river cruises can take you to boutique ports in more remote destinations. Here’s where you can go:
Alaska, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Caribbean, Central Mediterranean, Europe, Mediterranean, North America, Northern Europe, Pacific, Panama Canal, South America, Transatlantic, World Cruise
Why you should — or shouldn’t — book a Viking ocean cruise
One of Viking’s most distinctive policies is the fact that it doesn’t allow children — individuals under the age of 18 — aboard. This could be a pro or con, depending on the kind of vacation you’re after.
Another thing that’s up to personal preference? There are no casinos aboard Viking’s ocean cruise ships.
Other benefits and drawbacks to weigh include:
One complimentary shore excursion is included in every port.
Beer, wine and soft drinks are complimentary with lunch and dinner.
Free Wi-Fi — complimentary Internet access on ships in China.
There’s no limit to how much alcohol you can bring aboard — and there’s no corkage fee.
Computers are available to use onboard.
24-hour complimentary room service.
Gratuities aren’t included in the fare.
Dinner dress code — “elegant casual” — may be too strict for some.
Liquor is not included in the fare.
No short trip options — for 2019, the shortest itinerary was eight days.
Onboard entertainment is less varied and prolific than on other cruise lines — stand-up comics and Broadway-style productions are scarce.
If you’re looking to book a family vacation, consider Carnival or a family itinerary from upscale Crystal Cruises instead. If you’re hoping to roll the dice and try your luck, choose Norwegian Cruise Line.
How much are gratuities on Viking ocean cruises?
Viking states that gratuities are always at your discretion. However, it will automatically charge gratuities to your shipboard account for you to pay at the end of your trip. The exact amount varies by region. Here’s what you can expect to see on the invoice:
$16.50 daily per person
China, Egypt, Russia and Ukraine
$10 per person for each day spent on land
$25 per person for each day spent aboard
$20 daily per person — $10 is distributed among the general staff, and $10 goes straight to the program director
It’s also recommended that you pay tour guides about $2 per person per shore excursion on Europe ocean cruises.
Note that you can also pay gratuities up front through your Viking account.
What’s the difference between Viking ocean cruises and Viking river cruises?
Sure, the body of water on which you’re sailing is different. But what about the experience? Here’s what to expect from each:
Viking river cruise
Viking ocean cruise
Ships have between 100-250 guests.
Ships have about 930 guests
Spend more time on land exploring cities and less time on the boat.
Spend more time at sea and less time at port stops.
Pace is more leisurely.
Amenities are more upscale, and include fitness centers.
Forming intimate connections with other passengers is easier.
Offers more dining and entertainment options.
Port at cosmopolitan riverside cities like Paris, Budapest and Berlin.
Port at economic and cultural
Dining options tend to be more local, inspired by the particular river you’re cruising on.
Port at economic and cultural thoroughfares like Venice, Hong Kong and Sydney.
You’re more likely to stop at quiet villages and smaller towns.
Dining options are more international — its Italian restaurant, Manfredi’s, has an excellent reputation.
The dress code on Viking ocean cruises is casual during the day, so guests can wear jeans, shorts and other street wear to their heart’s content. However, swimsuits, cover-ups and workout clothes should only be worn in the fitness center, on the sports deck and around the pool.
After 6 p.m., the dress code becomes elegant casual. This means ladies should wear skirts, blouses, sweaters, dresses or dress clacks, and men should follow suit with trousers and a collared shirt.
A jacket and tie are not required, though passengers should retire their jeans as they’re not allowed. The elegant casual dress code applies to all dining and performance areas, but excludes the World Café.
Depending on the type of accommodations you book, complimentary laundry and pressing services may be included with your fare. However, regular staterooms do not include laundry services.
On all Viking ocean cruise ships, Self-service laundry units are available on decks three to six, along with detergent, irons and ironing boards. All passengers can access and use these, free of charge.
Traveling during COVID-19
The CDC continues to advise caution when traveling within or outside the US, However, it no longer requires self-quarantine or a COVID-19 test for fully vaccinated domestic travelers as of April 2021. International travelers need to get tested three days prior to flying out of the US and within three days after returning, even if you are fully vaccinated. It recommends that you delay travel if you’re not fully vaccinated to protect yourself and your family from getting or spreading the virus.
If you’re planning a trip outside the US, bear in mind that many countries have placed restrictions on US tourists. Check the US embassy website for updates before booking international travel.
Latest cruise deals
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