Viking Ocean Cruises is proud of its choice to stand out because of what it doesn’t have. The fast-growing line adheres to much of its Viking River Cruises heritage by keeping things simple and elegant — with fares that are mostly inclusive.
I sailed on Viking Orion, which debuted in Livorno, Italy, in June 2018. It’s the fifth ship for the line. They all carry 930 passengers, and there are plans for at least seven more of that size in the coming years. So, you’re going to be hearing a lot about these ships and this line.
The vessels carry much fewer passengers compared with the megaships that have been hitting the oceans in the past decade. Viking Ocean ships are spacious, and the voyages focus on exploration while you travel in comfort. To figure out whether this is the kind of cruise line you’re looking for you, you’ll want to know five things that you won’t find on a Viking Ocean Cruise.
Children – Viking Ocean Cruises passengers must be at least 18 years old, so you won’t see any kids onboard.
Casinos – The line also made the choice skip on using space for casinos. Viking quips that they make stops in plenty of destinations that have casinos if people really want to gamble during their cruise vacations.
Crowds – Viking Ocean Cruises saved space by not having a casino or kids clubs (or sports courts, waterslides, jogging tracks or other top-of-ship activities). So, there is more room for wide-open passenger areas, and the spaces around the ship are delightfully crowd-free. We sailed on the brand-new Viking Orion and regularly found ourselves nearly alone at the pool areas, in the expansive Living Room, at the Explorers Lounge and in the peaceful Winter Garden. The ship is chock full of comfortable furniture (couches, chairs, loungers) and has books placed in shelving all over the vessel (in place of a formal library).
Annoying Fees – Viking Ocean Cruises fares include access to the thermal suite area LivNordic Spa, where you can do a traditional Scandinavian spa regimen using the plunge pool, dump bucket, snow room, sauna and steam room. Specialty dining and Wi-Fi are also included, as well as beer and wine at lunches and dinner.
Noise — Itineraries are jam-packed and offer few sea days, so the ships can be really quiet during the day if you decide to stay onboard while others are off on excursions. Even when everyone is on the ship, the vibe is quiet and relaxed. There is no poolside band or lido deck activities, and shipwide announcements are kept to the bare minimum.
Even when movies are shown on the big screen at night, the area remains hushed as passengers listen to the audio through Bose headphones. Passengers are left to their own devices to enjoy the intimate and relaxing atmosphere with fellow cruisers, friends and family as they wish. And they seem to genuinely love it.
John Roberts is a freelance writer and operator of InTheLoopTravel.com. He writes about cruising and active travel, highlighting how people can connect with the world and other cultures through rewarding travel experiences.