I Traveled on Viking Cruises, the “World’s Best Cruise Line”: My Unfiltered Experience

I would have laughed in your face if you had told me that I’d be writing a Viking Cruises review a few years ago. Self-declared as “not a cruise person,” the idea of getting on any cruise—much less a luxury cruise line like Viking—was so far off my radar that it might as well have been in a different galaxy, save for maybe sailing to Antarctica when I had the funds.

Yet, the opportunity to sail on the world’s best ocean cruise line, as named by Condé Nast Traveler, Cruise Critic, Travel + Leisure, Town & Country, and USA Today, amongst many others, presented itself, thanks to an extremely generous gift from my boyfriend’s parents.

The infinity pool on the Viking Sea, a Viking ocean cruises ship.
Offering the only infinity pools at sea, Viking Ocean Cruises’ fleet of small luxury cruise ships is a step above the rest.

So there we were, a couple of 24-year-olds booking a cruise that would have an average passenger age of 72. And guess what? Despite our considerable age difference, we met so many wonderful fellow passengers, even if there were a few naysayers (let’s say one hater for every two friendly passengers).

We spent months perusing Viking Ocean Cruises and Viking River Cruises itineraries, none of which are under eight days long; we finally picked the Amazon & Caribbean Adventure aboard the gorgeous Viking Sea, a 12-day itinerary stopping at a few Caribbean islands, before sailing nearly the entirety of the Amazon River.

The itinerary seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime trip that frankly, made much more sense to do on a boat than by foot.

After planning and prepping for months (including two pricey, mandatory Yellow Fever vaccines and one-way tickets from Manaus, Brazil), we were informed a week before embarking that our Amazon cruise wouldn’t sail the Amazon at all. Instead, it would sail the Caribbean Islands for 12 days on an itinerary similar to Viking’s West Indies Explorer.

We were given no option to cancel. So, on Thanksgiving week, we packed our bags to leave for San Juan, Puerto Rico, where the ship would depart, and scrambled to cancel expensive flights from Manaus to rebook one-way flights from San Juan during the holiday season.

Would this be a phenomenal, spontaneous adventure or a corporate cruise blunder?

Viking Cruises review.

Viking Cruises Rating: Is it a Good Cruise Line?

Overall, I rate Viking Cruises a 7.5 out of 10. My rating isn’t just limited to my onboard experience with Viking, which is easily an 8.5 or 9 out of 10 but includes communication with Viking’s corporate customer service before embarking and the itineraries Viking offers, which really brought down my rating.

Factoring into my rating were stateroom quality and cleanliness, included amenities, available dining, offered shore excursions, entertainment, the on-board staff, corporate customer service, Viking Cruises itineraries, value, and my overall experience while sailing with Viking Cruises.

  • Staterooms: 9/10
  • Amenities: 10/10
  • Restaurants and bars: 7/10
  • Shore excursions: 7/10
  • Entertainment: 6/10
  • Onboard staff: 10/10
  • Customer service: 2/10
  • Available itineraries: 7/10
  • Value: 9/10
  • Overall experience: 8/10
Viking Ocean Cruises ship atrium.

Viking Cruises Review: Pros

As a cruise curmudgeon, I was fully prepared to have a very short list of pros for Viking Cruises. Yet, when I stepped on board, my frosty opinion of cruising thawed with the warm Caribbean winds.

I indulged—relaxing in the idyllic Explorer’s Lounge for every sail-away, taking every opportunity to dress up in my chicest resortwear, and marveling at panoramic views from the ship’s wraparound decks and infinity pool.

Here’s what I loved about Viking Cruises:

  • Amazing staff—the absolute best part of the cruise
  • No kids under 18 allowed
  • No pricing surprises
  • Included WiFi
  • No interior staterooms
  • Every cabin has a balcony
  • Daily afternoon tea
  • Reasonable pricing for premium spirits, cocktails, and wine
  • Small ship sizes
  • Nearly 1:1 passenger-to-staff ratio
  • Beautiful ship design—not tacky or cheesy
  • Use of the spa is included
  • Self-serve laundry is free
  • No limit to outside alcohol brought on board and no corkage fee
The Living Room bar and lounge on Viking Cruises ships.

Viking Cruises Review: Cons

If this Viking Cruises review is going to be honest, I have to point out the clear and obvious flaws with the cruise line that brought down my rating of it.

Even though I had an amazing time—and I really did—several glaring issues took away from the experience (the fact that we ended up in the Caribbean for two weeks instead of the Amazon being one of them).

After our major itinerary change, we were shocked when our itinerary changed again at the port in San Juan, removing our only sea day and port of call.

We thought that would be where the itinerary chaos stopped until a couple of our ports ended up being shipping ports instead of cruise ports, where our boat was surrounded by cargo and passengers had to be shuttled to and from town.

Aside from those one-offs, these Viking Cruises cons are worth considering before you book:

  • Small ship sizes mean a lot of rocking, easy to get motion sickness
  • Very few vegetarian dining options, basically no vegan dining options
  • Poor communication about itinerary changes
  • Inadequate compensation for major itinerary changes with no option to cancel or change
  • Housekeeping doesn’t live up to the rest of the staff
  • Onboard entertainment leaves something to be desired
  • Disengaged, pretentious cruise director
  • Paid shore excursion options often lacked excitement
  • WiFi could be laggy, cutting out a few times during the trip
Viking Cruises bar with a view of the ocean.

What’s Included on Viking Cruises?

What’s earned Viking Cruises its praises is founder and CEO Torstein Hagen’s philosophy that truly all-inclusive, luxury cruising means no nickel-and-diming.

No paying exorbitant WiFi fees, no additional fees for the spa, and no paying for specialty restaurants, the list goes on. With that in mind, we knew this trip would be like any other.

Included on every Viking cruise are:

  • Complimentary shore excursion at every port
  • Free WiFi onboard
  • House wine, beer, and soft drinks at lunch and dinner
  • Coffee, tea, and bottled water at all times
  • Corkage fees for outside alcohol brought on board
  • Access to the spa (treatments are paid)
  • Gym
  • Destination lectures and theater performances
  • Port taxes and fees
  • Self-service laundry, including detergent
  • All onboard restaurants, including specialty restaurants
  • Freyja toiletries in-room
Viking Ocean Cruises staterooms.

Viking Cruises Staterooms

One of the most attractive aspects of sailing with Viking Cruises is that there are no interior staterooms on any ship. Every cabin has large windows and a balcony, along with a well-sized bathroom, adding to the luxury experience.

Stateroom design is thoughtful, from the brilliant dressing table—complete with mirror lighting—to the universal outlets and ample storage for toiletries in the bathroom.

The only aspect of our stateroom that didn’t hit the mark was housekeeping. We were originally impressed with our room attendant, who was at our cabin within minutes of us reaching our stateroom to offer extra hangers (massive bonus points). Still, generally, our room wasn’t kept to the standard I’d expect from Viking or a similar luxury hotel.

It was cleaned and the bed was remade in the morning and at turndown, but extras I’ve come to expect at top-tier hotels didn’t exist, like tidying products on the counters, and moving strewn clothing and footwear.

I think our experience may have been an outlier—friends we made onboard received far better housekeeping.

Viking Cruises  ship atrium.

Viking Cruises Staterooms to Avoid

Knowing which cabins to avoid on many cruise lines is crucial for ensuring comfortable accommodations. Not on Viking.

I can’t say there are any Viking Ocean Cruises cabins to avoid, just some slightly better than others, such as those on higher floors or the starboard side versus the port side, depending on where you’re docking. The lack of a casino and major entertainment venues onboard keeps Viking ships quiet.

Are the Upgraded Viking Cruises Cabins Worth It?

We originally booked the cheapest cabin type, the veranda stateroom. When we checked in, we received an upgrade to a room of the same size on a higher floor when our itinerary changed, and 300 passengers dropped out of the sailing.

Are the nicer Viking Cruises cabins worth it?

In my opinion, no. While it was nice to be on a higher floor, so much thought has gone into a top-notch room experience for Viking passengers that the upgrade didn’t make a noticeable improvement to our experience.

What to wear on a Viking Cruises cruise during the day.

Viking Cruises Dress Code

Viking Cruises has specific dress codes for its ships, but they don’t demand ballgowns and black-tie.

Hagen, firmly against the idea that vacation should require stuffy, formal clothing, ensured that Viking Cruises do not have formal nights or theme nights that demand a separate wardrobe.

Given Viking Cruises’ older, wealthy clientele, I was panicked about what to wear on a Viking Ocean cruise before embarking. Would my crop tops and bikinis be okay? As it happens, my fears were totally unwarranted—several staff members even complimented my Caribbean cruise outfits, secretly quelling my nerves.

Viking Cruises dress code during the day.

Viking Cruises Dress Code During the Day

In the morning, casual clothing is allowed everywhere onboard Viking Cruises. Shorts, t-shirts, sundresses—it’s all permitted, including at the main sit-down restaurant.

Athletic clothing and swimwear are not allowed anywhere on the ship except on the pool deck and at the gym. I thought this would be difficult to follow, however because the pool deck includes the World Cafe (the Viking Ocean Cruises buffet restaurant) along with Aquavit (the pool bar), this was very easy to follow.

Viking Cruises dress code at night.

Viking Cruises Dress Code at Night

At night, the dress code shifts slightly and becomes slightly more elevated. Men must wear slacks and a collared shirt. Polos are okay, but T-shirts are not. Women are allowed to wear dresses, skirts, or slacks but cannot wear shorts.

True to its ethos of a comfortable cruise experience, Viking has considered guests who don’t wish to dress up after the sun sets. Casual clothing is permitted at the World Cafe at all times.

The Wintergarden, a restaurant on Viking Ocean Cruises with afternoon tea.

Viking Cruises Staff and Service

Viking Cruises is luxury but hardly snooty or pretentious. Its quiet, subtle approach to luxury feels more like settling into a close friend’s home than something flashy.

Staff seals the approach with an ultra-personal approach to service and an amazingly warm, welcoming demeanor. Even staff we only interacted with once or twice would remember our names, preferences, or stateroom number—it was extremely impressive.

We absolutely loved it.

So many people contributed to making our trip special. They were the very best part of the cruise and absolutely the reason I loved it so much.

So thank you to John, who works ship security and built a friendship with us after teasing me about a lost passenger card on day one; Grace, the restaurant hostess whose memory never failed to surprise us; Rodge, an exceptional bar waiter; Erin, the assistant cruise director who went out of her way to make us feel welcome as the clear outliers (young people) on board; and John, the guitarist engaging in meaningful conversations with us.

Thank you to Amelia, the vivacious sommelier who went out of her way to make the best cocktail I had on the ship; Seema, our favorite waitress who never failed to delight us with jokes and recommendations; Mirza, the best bartender on the ship with ample beer knowledge to share with my boyfriend; and of course the beloved Suta, who was the very, very best part of our day, every day.

I cannot sing praises about the Viking Cruises staff enough. They are reason alone to pick this cruise line over all the others. If there’s one thing to take away from this Viking Cruise review, it’s that. There were so many nights that we would have rather been down in the crew bar than in the passenger area because they were that much fun to be around.

The only staff member we didn’t love was the cruise director—he rarely engaged with guests and was often only spotted socializing with ship executives. It rubbed us the wrong way, especially because the ship’s assistant cruise director and hotel management team executives were so phenomenal.

The fabulous staff’s attention to detail and camaraderie made it extra difficult to say goodbye to the Viking Sea after 12 days onboard.

St. John, one of Viking Ocean Cruises ports of call in the Caribbean.

Viking Cruises Itineraries

Viking Cruises sails several regions through Viking River and Ocean Cruises. Currently, the cruise line has 42 Viking River itineraries, and 94 Viking Ocean itineraries, sailing to over 200 destinations.

From low-key European river sailings to adventurous Antarctic expeditions, itineraries offer something for every type of traveler.

That said, actually choosing an itinerary proved more difficult than expected. Itineraries, for the most part, are very well-planned, but some (especially in Europe) missed the mark a little, skipping out on major destinations in some countries or staying too long in others. It didn’t help that Viking itineraries are long. I really wish they’d add some trips that are four to seven days instead of eight.

However, we generally loved the options available and were very excited about the prospect of sailing the Amazon. 

Talking to other passengers aboard our ship who were avid Viking cruisers, rivers are really where Viking shines brightest. It’s strongly recommended to stay away from itineraries that involve a lot of on-land movement with buses as they aren’t quite the same.

Moving forward, I’d consider booking a river cruise or an Antarctic cruise with Viking, but will probably stay away from anything considered more adventurous due to how our itinerary change was handled, like the Egypt sailing.

When you finally decide on your itinerary, book it well in advance. As Viking only operates small luxury cruise ships, sailings sell out quickly.

Viking cruises shore excursion in St. Lucia.
Our shore excursion in Saint Lucia was such a fun way to see the stunning island, despite rain and choppy waters.

Viking Cruises Shore Excursions

I quickly learned that shore excursions can really add up—especially in the Caribbean. We weren’t planning on booking many excursions for our Amazon itinerary as there’s tons to explore independently there, more sea days in the itinerary, and lots of reasonably priced activities from third party tour operators.

The Caribbean was a different story. We learned the hard way that booking shore excursions through your cruise line or through an independent operator can really change your experience, even if they are extra expensive in the Caribbean.

Not given enough time to book through independent operators due to the itinerary change, we bit the bullet and booked several excursions through Viking.

How to Book Viking Cruises Excursions

Book your excursions quickly. Excursions can be booked ahead of embarkment via the My Viking portal, and are available to different cabin classes at different times. Those in the most premium cabin classes get the earliest access.

If you change your mind about excursions and want to book onboard, it’s not a problem. Guest services are available at all hours for last-minute excursion bookings. Tickets will be delivered to your cabin by housekeeping the night before if you book on the ship.

Viking Ocean Cruises complimentary shore excursion in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Viking Cruises Complimentary Shore Excursions

Viking acknowledges how important excursions are when cruising by offering every passenger a complimentary shore excursion at each port of call, regardless of cabin type.

Before you get too excited, know this isn’t an invitation to book whatever activity the cruise line offers. Viking determines the free excursion at each port, which is typically a walking or driving tour of the port of call. It’s not the most thrilling way to spend your day, but it can save you some money, especially if you’re at a port you’re not as excited about.

Premium shore excursion on a Viking Ocean Cruises cruise.

Premium Viking Ocean Cruises Shore Excursions

Other excursions offered are a little more exciting and very pricey. We found many of the excursions offered by Viking at a fraction of the price from Shore Excursions Group, which often sub-contracts the same local providers as major cruise companies.

Overall, offered excursions from Viking weren’t the most adventurous, compared to cruise lines that cater to a younger clientele. They were slower in pace and typically didn’t offer too much physical activity.

We booked several excursions through Viking—catamaran sailing and a walking tour in Saint Lucia, catamaran sailing and snorkeling in Grenada, and a tour of Foursquare rum distillery and a craft brewery in Barbados. We also tried booking an excursion in Dominica after our original plans to go waterfall rappelling fell through; however, it was canceled last minute due to bad weather.

Our excursion in Saint Lucia was phenomenal, save for rain and choppy waters, which were out of Viking’s control. Our Grenada tour wasn’t exactly as described, and in Barbados, we were rushed through Foursquare and spent far too long at a mediocre craft brewery.

We weren’t impressed with how Viking handled the snafu in Dominica. After our original choice was sold out, the cruise line refused to add a second tour despite having a waiting list of over 20 people for it, and we weren’t told that the excursion we booked was canceled until we came down to the disembarkment deck to leave.

Instead, we took the shuttle over to the cruise terminal and grabbed the first taxi driver we saw to take us to Titou Gorge. Our taxi tour was fun, but it was frustrating that we didn’t get off the ship until well past 1 pm, having our time in Dominica cut short for Viking’s failure to communicate.

I wish I could give a better review of Viking Ocean Cruises shore excursions, but I honestly think passengers should book independently to save money and assure quality.

The main restaurant on Viking Ocean Cruises' ships.

Viking Ocean Cruises Restaurants and Bars

We took full advantage of Viking’s generous approach to dining by trying every single restaurant on the Viking Sea. There are 12 different Viking Ocean Cruises restaurants and bars on board, including the cooking school: The Restaurant, World Cafe, Explorer’s Lounge, Mamsen’s, Manfredi’s, The Chef’s Table, Torshavn, the Library, Aquavit Terrace, the Pool Bar, the Wintergarden, and the Kitchen.

The Restaurant is the main dining establishment on Viking Ocean cruises. This is a sit-down restaurant with outstanding service. The restaurant takes two approaches to its menu, splitting it into a selection of classic plates that never change and a daily rotating destination menu created based on your port of call that day. The vegetarian menu rotates daily and is displayed on the destination menu.

The World Cafe, Viking’s casual buffet restaurant, was our go-to for breakfast and lunch and has surprisingly decent pizza. We tried breakfast at The Restaurant, but found it to be the same quality as the World Cafe. The Restaurant is not open for lunch and always had better quality at dinner.

Explorer’s Lounge was by far my favorite spot on the ship. Located at the helm, the bar’s panoramic views were breathtaking, and the seating was oh-so-comfortable, like your well-lived living room. In the morning, the Explorer’s Lounge operates Mamsen’s, which serves Nordic breakfast favorites inspired by Hagen’s mother’s recipes (definitely get the waffle with all the fixings).

The Wintergarden was also among the best Viking Ocean restaurants for me. It only opens for afternoon tea from 1 pm to 4 pm and is a tranquil spot, especially when the strings duo is playing.

Overall, the food on the ship was far better than expected, but vegetarian options left something to be desired. Plates often felt recycled and relied heavily on creamy risotto or pasta. Manfredi’s, the Italian restaurant, had the best food for vegetarians on the ship—it certainly was not The Restaurant.

Aside from adding vegetarian options, Viking could really improve the timing and quantity of food offered throughout the day. Set dining times often left periods without great food options, and the in-room dining menu was very brief. Late-night nibbles weren’t found except for small charcuterie plates at the Explorer’s Lounge.

The Explorers' Bar on Viking Ocean Cruises ship, the Viking Sea.

Is the Viking Silver Spirits Beverage Package Worth It?

For many, the Viking Silver Spirits premium beverage package may not be worth it. Cocktails and premium beer and wine by the glass are very well-priced, with most cocktails around $10.

The Silver Spirits package is $25 per person per day. Both members of your cabin have to add the package—you cannot purchase it individually.

Originally, we weren’t going to add the Silver Spirits package to our trip, but we decided to after we were offered onboard ship credit as compensation for our itinerary change.

I’m glad we did. Though I think we definitely would’ve drank less without it, it was nice to be able to try all of the different wines and cocktails Viking Ocean Cruises offers without needing to think about price. There are so many different wines available on the ship.

Most of the fellow passengers we encountered on the cruise did have the package even if the value didn’t make total sense for them, simply for the ease of not needing to think on vacation.

The sports deck, one of the biggest amenities on Viking Ocean Cruises ships.

Viking Ocean Cruises Amenities

Stepping into the LivNordic Spa on Viking Ocean cruises, you’ll understand why the cruise line is a top choice for travelers.

All Viking Ocean cruises include spa access. The LivNordic Spa, as the name suggests, is based on Nordic wellness principles and includes a full thermal suite consisting of a snow grotto, several saunas, a steam room, cold plunge, hot plunge, and hydrotherapy pool in addition to private treatment rooms. Outside the spa is a small salon for hair, nail, and facial treatments.

The spa is a lovely place to unwind after a long day of sightseeing, but it isn’t huge, so it gets busy quickly. You’re best experiencing it during the day at a port you’re not too interested in. The same guidance goes for the pools, which crowd up on sea days and in the late afternoon.

Speaking of the pools, Viking Ocean ships are the only cruise ships to have infinity pools at sea. They’re plunge pools and surprisingly deep when the boat is docked (levels lower when the ship is sailing). We went for a dip in the infinity pool on the Viking Sea both in port and while sailing and loved taking in the view while swimming. Pool bar wait staff coming around with dipped ice cream cones was the cherry on top.

Other notable amenities included are the WiFi, the sports deck, and the fitness center. The gym is small but gets the job done and has everything you could need for a full-body workout. I loved that Viking put water bottles in each machine, so I didn’t even need to remember to bring one down.

Viking Cruises’ WiFi worked well—when it worked. A few times during the trip, it cut out or became extremely slow, but that’s to be expected when you rely on satellite internet in the middle of the ocean.

What frequent cruisers might notice is that shopping is less robust than on major lines (fine by me!) and that there are no casinos on any Viking cruise ships.

Entertainment at the Star Theater on Viking Ocean cruises.

Viking Cruises Entertainment

If you asked even the most loyal Viking passengers what the cruise line’s biggest downfall is, they’d likely say the entertainment.

Then again, you didn’t really choose Viking for entertainment, did you? That’s why cruise lines like Royal Caribbean Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, and Norwegian Cruise Line exist, right?

My trip with Viking Ocean Cruises had the Viking Vocalists, a quartet of musical theater majors performing medleys; John, a solo guitarist; Irina and Nani, a string duo; Lidia, a solo pianist; and the Viking Band aboard as musical performers.

The theater hosted the Viking Vocalists, several destination lectures, a few movie showings, and performances from the assistant cruise director and the cruise director. During the cruise, Viking brought guest performers aboard a couple of times, like a solo guitarist.

The rest of the musical performers could be seen performing in the ship’s bars and common spaces. Classical performers typically were in the Atrium and Wintergarden. The Viking Band played Torshavn, the ship’s club, while the solo guitarist played the Explorer’s Lounge and Torshavn.

We saw the Viking Vocalists a few times, and thought they were kind of just okay. Some members were really talented, others were less so. The choice of music generally wasn’t thrilling or was poorly executed.

By skipping a performance in the theater, we didn’t feel like we were missing out on anything, and we enjoyed visiting with other passengers and staff in the evenings more. Then again, we’re the type of people who found the puzzles in the Atrium and trivia night in the Explorer’s Lounge more exciting prospects.

My favorite performers on the ship were the classical strings duo, who played beautiful pieces, and John, the solo guitarist whose choice of song always matched the location (I still can’t get over him playing “Ring of Fire” in the Explorer’s Lounge as we sailed past a large wildfire in Antigua).

There seemed to be a hierarchy among performers and staff on the ship, and I didn’t like it. Staff in management and the Viking Vocalists (considered the most premium performers) were mostly white Europeans. In contrast, lounge performers and those in service jobs tended to be almost entirely from South and Southeast Asian countries.

Though I’m sure there’s a reason for this, I have to wonder—is there not a pathway for employees from these countries, who make up the bulk majority of Viking Ocean’s workforce, to advance to these more favorable jobs?

Saint Lucia, one of the ports of call on Viking Ocean Cruises itineraries.

Viking Ocean Cruises vs. Viking River Cruises

Is sailing with Viking Ocean Cruises better than Viking River Cruises?

Viking Ocean Cruises is best for travelers who want to sail destinations like the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Iceland, and China with the Viking service and amenities they’ve come to know and love on a small ocean cruise ship. These cruises are not for those who get seasickness easily.

Viking River Cruises is the better option for all cruisers, generally. Those boats are even smaller than the Viking Ocean, but they don’t tend to rock as much and usually run smoother. It’s easy to stick to an itinerary despite bad weather when passengers can just hop off board and be bussed down the river.

Viking River Cruises is best known for its European itineraries, though it also offers cruises on rivers like the Mississippi and Nile.

Viking Ocean Cruises infinity pool docked in Antigua.

What to Know Before Booking a Viking Ocean Cruise

Kids Under 18 Are Not Allowed Onboard

People under 18 are not allowed on Viking Cruises. That’s right—during your cruise, there will be absolutely no kids running around or screaming babies making a fuss.

It’s inconvenient for those who want to bring young grandchildren or their kids, but for us, it was one of the best aspects of sailing with Viking. I genuinely can’t imagine sailing on a massive cruise ship filled with families anymore—Viking’s child-free, small luxury cruise ships have ruined me.

If you’re looking for an adult-only cruise line with a younger demographic, try Virgin Voyages.

Viking Cruises Does Not Have Casinos on Its Ships

Put the poker chips away—there is no gambling on Viking Cruises. Puzzles and chess in the Atrium and a round of trivia at the Explorer’s Lounge are the only games to be played aboard.

I really enjoyed not having a casino aboard. It kept the atmosphere of the ship more refined, and I felt like our fellow passengers were cruising because they really loved to travel by sea, not because they wanted to hide out at the casino for the duration of the voyage.

Viking Ocean Cruises restaurant.

Bring Motion Sickness Pills

Expect a lot of rocking when sailing on small ocean cruise ships like the Viking Ocean fleet. Some nights were better than others—we might feel a constant, slow sway—while others were extremely choppy. My legs would shake rapidly when seated from the motion, and hangers in our closet would hit against the doors.

The boat’s speed definitely affected its movement (as speed increased, so would the sway). We visited the Caribbean when there were strong winds, also contributing to the strong rocking.

Bring Dramamine or motion sickness patches, and lots of them. Even the most confident cruisers have experienced motion sickness on Viking—some staff members said they also do occasionally!

You Will Need Passport Validity of at Least 6 Months

Get your paperwork in order before you embark. Your passport must be valid for at least six months from the final date of your sailing.

Depending on your itinerary, Viking may also require proof of visas or certain vaccines.

For our Amazon River cruise, getting a Yellow Fever vaccine was mandatory and had to be administered more than 10 days before we departed Puerto Rico. All passengers had to have a yellow book to prove they were vaccinated.

Shops on Viking Cruises.

Pack All the Essentials in Advance

The stores on Viking Cruises are expensive. We were sticker-shocked when we saw that a small bottle of sunscreen at the general store onboard was $30 after running out. Ports of call had cheaper prices, but depending on the port, may not have quality goods.

Stock up by buying things like sunscreen, aloe vera gel, bug spray, band-aids, sunglasses, and the like at home before you go. We ran past a Walmart and a CVS in San Juan before embarking in addition to picking up a few things from Amazon, which helped us a lot.

The Viking Sea, a Viking Ocean Cruises ship.

Viking Cruises Review: The Bottom Line

As much as I hate to admit that my boyfriend was right, he was. Despite everything that went wrong with our cruise, I loved sailing with Viking, even if I didn’t exactly love the destinations we visited.

It really comes down to the staff and service. They made Viking so exceptional. I would absolutely sail with Viking Cruises again—just probably not to the Amazon. We met a couple onboard who had their first Amazon cruise with Viking canceled, only to have it canceled again!

So maybe, just maybe, I’m a little bit of a cruise person now. A small luxury cruise ship, a very expensive cruise person (still probably not a contemporary—or budget—cruise person).

Though planning my own trips will always be my favorite way to travel, Viking Cruises gave me two weeks of relaxation and rejuvenation that I usually don’t slow down enough for.

Thank you so much again to my boyfriend’s wonderful grandparents, for giving us an incredibly memorable, generous experience.

Viking Cruises Review: FAQ

What is the average age on a Viking cruise?

The average age on a Viking cruise is typically in the 70s. On my cruise, the average age was 72 out of over 600 passengers.

Are Viking cruises for older people?

Viking cruises are geared towards an older, affluent crowd, who make up the majority of passengers. However, travelers of all ages still sail with Viking. On my ship, two other passengers in their young 20s were sailing with their grandparents.

What is it like to sail with Viking Cruises under 40?

Passengers under 40 might find that Viking cruises operate at a slower pace than others. Entertainment and excursions are more low-key and low-impact than cruise lines geared toward younger people. I sailed with Viking Cruises at 24 and still made friends with many fellow passengers, even if they were several decades older.

We loved making friends with the staff and exploring on our own as passengers with Viking who were under 40 years old.

How many people are on a typical Viking cruise?

Viking Ocean cruises typically have 900 passengers. Viking River cruise ships are smaller, usually only sailing with 190 passengers at most.

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4 Comments

  1. Andrea
    May 14, 2024 / 7:54 pm

    Fantastic info and very thorough! We love Viking because of the size, ages, amenities, food and wait staff!

    • Eva Phan
      Author
      May 15, 2024 / 9:23 am

      After traveling on a Viking ship, I can understand how it sweeps awards! Will definitely be considering Viking for future cruises

  2. HTD
    June 26, 2024 / 1:33 pm

    Thanks for the review. I can say a Viking cruise is one of the best we’ve been on (over 25 cruises in total. Just avoid Viking’s air booking service if at all possible. How can a cruise be so great and booking it be so horrible? Over 8 calls to book air travel. They say they are going to do something, then don’t. Then to compensate they upgrade you but make another mistake which takes away the upgrade. Then they upgrade you but change all your flights leaving from an airport 2 states away. Then they take away the upgrades and get the city correct but forget to confirm your seats. So you get bumped to a flight leaving after your cruise departs. Then they fix that but the flight is full so you are in the last seat separated from your party. This goes on and on and on. Then since I had to speak with a human to fix all the problems, they tried to charge us $150 each for the pleasure. Horrible experience with Viking Air. Avoid.

    • Eva Phan
      Author
      July 17, 2024 / 1:13 pm

      Thanks for pointing that out! A couple that I know took a Viking cruise as their honeymoon and also experienced huge issues with booking airfare through Viking. The flight they were booked on was expensive for what it was and on a totally nonsense schedule with unnecessary layovers despite cheaper, nonstop flights on better airlines being easily available.

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