Some cruises try to be all things to everyone. Viking isn't a part of that group.

The upscale cruise brand caters to a specific type of traveler who is looking to explore the world and learn something along the way.

Most Viking customers are approaching their retirement years, and they are eager to finally see all the places they didn't have time to visit when they were raising kids.

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There is a wide range of both ocean and river cruise itineraries that have a heavy focus on destinations. These aren't cruises where the focus is solely on the ship.

Passengers on Viking voyages have more time to explore historical sites and experience local culture than on cruises. Every passenger on board can take included-in-the-fare tours in every port without having to pay extra. In keeping with its "no nickel-and-diming" philosophy, viking voyages are very inclusive.

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

The line calls its programming cultural enrichment, which includes lectures by experts on topics related to the places its ships visit, as well as cultural andculinary offerings that often have a local tie-in.

A lot of the onboard amusements on Viking ships are geared towards younger travelers. Children under the age of 18 aren't allowed on its ships. Only one major cruise brand in the world has such a rule.

The party crowd is not served by the ships. This isn't the line for you if it's a floating celebration.

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A Viking cruise is the thinking person's cruise, not the "drinking person's cruise."

A beginners guide to cruising.

3 things TPG loves about Viking

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

What we could do without

  • The lack of fitness centers on Viking river ships.

The Viking fleet

The world's largest cruise brand has more ships than any other brand. Unusual among major lines, it has both ocean and river ships. It has a fleet that is easy to understand.

Most of Viking's ocean vessels are carbon copies of one another. You've seen them all if you've seen one. The line's river vessels are the same.

Eight of Viking's ocean ships are almost identical. expedition cruising is a type of cruising that involves traveling to remote, hard-to-reach places on hardy vessels that carry their own landing craft.

Each of the eight ocean ships has a capacity for over 900 passengers. There are three more ships coming in the series in the next four years.

The 930-passenger Viking Sea. VIKING CRUISES

In keeping with Viking's focus on intimate, upscale voyages, the ocean ships are less than a fourth the size of the giant megaships being built by the likes of Royal Caribbean. They aren't big floating resorts.

One of the eight ships in this series has been permanently transferred to a joint venture that works for the China market. It was originally called Viking Sun when it was first introduced.

The smaller of the two expedition ships, Viking Octantis, and the larger of the two, Viking Polaris, can carry up to 372 passengers.

The Viking expedition ship Viking Octantis. VIKING CRUISES

There are boats on the river. Over the past decade, the number of river ships in Viking's fleet has increased by more than 50 percent. The line used to operate 29 river ships.

The Longships are a reference to the historic vessels used by Vikings in the Middle Ages.

The perfect length for the locks on Europe's rivers is 443 feet. Smaller versions of the Longships measuring 361 feet or 410 feet in length have been built by Viking to sail on rivers where larger vessels are needed. The 410-foot-long versions of the vessels were specifically designed to be able to sail into the heart of Paris.

A Viking Longship. VIKING CRUISES

There are a few exceptions to the rule in the Viking river fleet. There are several smaller, purpose-built vessels that Viking operates on the Nile River in Egypt and the Mekong River in Southeast Asia. River cruise itineraries in both countries are on hold at the moment.

The Mississippi River is the location of a new ship designed for it by Viking.

There are three types of Viking ships.

Destinations and itineraries

The fact that Viking operates both ocean cruises and river cruises makes it one of the most diverse cruise lines.

When it comes to European river itineraries, Viking has a wide range of sailings on nearly every European river.

Viking river ships can be found on the Rhine, Main and Danube in Central Europe, the Dordogne in France, and the Moselle and Elbe in Germany.

A Viking river ship sailing on the Danube. VIKING CRUISES

In addition to the Nile in Egypt and the Mekong River in Southeast Asia, Viking has begun river trips on the Mississippi River.

From North America to Europe and Asia, the line's ocean ships can be found.

The line considers its home territory to be Northern Europe and the Nordic countries. The company was founded by Norwegians. In the Mediterranean, it is a big player. Other key cruise destinations include Alaska, the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, Canada and New England.

The line's first expedition ship, Viking Octantis, was launched this year. The Great Lakes are a destination that only a few cruise operators visit.

You can choose from eight-day cruises in the Mediterranean to 138-day around-the-world voyages.

There are five best destinations you can visit on a viking ship.

Who sails Viking

The majority of Viking passengers are from North America. Some passengers are younger or older than the company's core market of 55 to 75 year olds.

It's an educated crowd with many passengers coming from professional background or a life of running their own businesses People who have spent years focused on work and building up savings for retirement are finally ready to start enjoying the fruits of their labor by spending some of the savings on travel to places they have long put off visiting.

People who can afford high-end vacations. Some would say that Viking is a luxury line. Viking vessels are full of luxury touches, with the pricing to match.

There are a lot of people on Viking ships. A retired couple travelling with their adult children is an example of a multigenerational group.

Unlike almost every other cruise brand, you won't find families with young children. Viking doesn't allow passengers under the age of 18 on its ships, which is a key differentiating factor for the brand.

Cabins and suites

When staying in a cabin on a cruise ship, is a balcony a must have? It's possible that Viking is your line.

Viking is one of the only cruise brands in the world that offers a balcony with every cabin on every ocean ship. Even the most upscale of Viking's ocean cruise rivals can't say that.

Many of the suites on the ocean ships are large. The largest suites on the ocean ships are over 1,500 square feet and the smallest cabins are over 270 square feet.

If you want to pay for a big open room on an ocean cruise, Viking has many options.

There is a guide to Viking cabins and suites.

It isn't always the case in the river cruise business that space on vessels is at a premium. The river ships are not all-balcony-cabin vessels.

The décor and furnishings of the cabins and suites are modern and elegant with a resemblance to the Norwegian heritage of the company.

You will find beds topped with crisp, white duvets and Scandinavian throws, comfortable contemporary sofas and chairs in neutral tones, and light wood desks and side tables that combine to offer a residential feel in bedroom areas. The colors of the day are creams, grays and lighter blue.

The bathroom in a viking cabin has luxurious travertine-lined walls, Scandinavian-inspired wood-veneered vanities, shiny white sinks and chrome fixture.

A penthouse junior suite on a Viking ocean ship. VIKING CRUISES

An Explorer suite bathroom on a Viking ocean ship. VIKING CRUISES

In keeping with the high end nature of the brand, Viking cabins and suites have a lot of upscale touches. The rooms are modest.

Storage in all the right places, lots of outlets for charging your devices and lighting in the right place are what they are. The reading lights built into the fabric headboards add to the lamps on the bedside tables. The pages of the Viking Daily activity newsletter are easy to read while lying down.

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

The large and clear lettering on the Freyja toiletries is one of the small touches in Viking cabins that show a line thinking aboutFunctionality as much as Decor. Older customers of the line would not have a problem differentiating between the body wash and the body lotion on a cruise ship or hotel.

Restaurants and dining

Depending on the type of ship you are on, the number of restaurants and other dining options will vary greatly.

All of Viking's oceangoing ships have at least four outlets that serve food.

Each of the line's ocean ships has a main restaurant with rotating menu items that tie to the destination where the vessel is sailing. The World Cafe is on every vessel. Most of your meals will be eaten in these eateries.

The main restaurants on these ships are notable for their walls of glass that can slide open, something that is uncommon in the cruise world.

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

The Chef's Table, a five-course tasting menu themed around a specific cuisine that changes every few days, is one of the smaller restaurants on each ocean ship.

Each passenger is only allowed to make one to three reservations per cruise at the eateries.

Gourmet hamburgers and other grill items can be found on the poolside grills on the larger ocean ships. There is a small food counter at the forward-facing lounges on the ships. Traditional heart-shaped waffles, specialty cakes and brown goat cheese are some of the authentic tastes of Norway that it is named after.

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

The Wintergarden lounge at the top of every vessel is where passengers will find finger sandwiches, tea and other refreshments in the afternoon.

Four of the above venues are offered by the line's smaller ocean ships, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris.

The main restaurant on the river ships is where passengers eat most of their meals, while a smaller, casual buffet is available indoors and outdoors.

The restaurants on the ships are named after a friend of the founder of the company. The lounge areas on some Silversea ships have a name.

Entertainment and activities

Many of the activities on board Viking's ocean ships are "cultural enrichment." On any given day, you can find an expert on one of the destinations you are visiting lecturing in the theater, or a classical musician performing in the living room. Some traditional entertainment is offered by the ships.

You can find onboard lectures related to the destinations the ships are visiting, as well as destination-related demonstrations and tastings. You can have a tasting of local French cheeses or French wines on a river voyage.

Live piano music can be found in the evening in the river ship lounges.

Theaters, lounges and shows

Production shows, movie showings, and enrichment lecturers can be found at the theater at the front of each ocean ship.

lecturers often have expertise related to the places you will be visiting on your sailing Well-known academics, diplomats and even astronauts are just some of the interesting and accomplished people that the line has to offer.

The theater on Viking Star. VIKING CRUISES

Musical entertainment can be found in the secondary lounge space on the ships. It has an extensive collection of Armagnacs, with one from every year of the last eight decades. The Armagnac is a fun game to play. Some years are more costly than others.

The Viking Living Room is a three-deck-high, atrium-like space at the center of the ship and has musicians playing in it. The Viking Living Room is a meeting point for passengers throughout the day and night. The Explorers' desk is the equivalent of a guest relations area on other ships.

The Living Room on Viking ocean ships. VIKING CRUISES

Viking Star’s Explorers’ Lounge at night. VIKING CRUISES

Live music can be heard in the Explorers' Lounge, a two-deck-high observation lounge and bar area at the very top of the ship. Mamsen's is a food counter that serves food from Norway.

The pool deck and other venues

The main pool area on the top deck is home to a pool, hot tub, rows of lounge chairs, and comfortable seating areas.

The main pool area has a glass magrodome that can be opened on warm days or closed if the weather gets bad.

The pool deck on a Viking ocean ship. VIKING CRUISES

The Wintergarden lounge is located behind the main pool area on each of the ocean ships. It is a favorite place on these vessels.

There is a pool at the back of each ship.

An example of the thermal suite areas found in Viking spas. VIKING CRUISES

The ocean ships have a spa with a thermal suite that is open to all passengers at no extra charge, and a fitness center that is open to all passengers.

It's unusual for river ships to lack fitness centers. In the past, Viking has argued that the space devoted to a fitness center is better used for other purposes. If you want to go on a river trip, Viking river ships may not be the best option.

There are 12 cruise ships with the most amazing attractions.

Children’s program

Children under the age of 18 are not allowed on any of its vessels.

What to know before you go

Required documents

There are international itineraries that require a passport. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months. It is important that the name on your reservation is the same as the one on your passport.


An automatic service gratuity of$15 per person per day is added to your final bill, depending on your cabin category. You can adjust this amount if you are unhappy with the service you receive. If you want, you can raise the tip amount. A 15% gratuity is added to restaurant and bar bills.

There is a lot of information about tipping on a cruise ship.


As part of Viking's "no nickel-and-diming" philosophy, the line offers free wi-fi to passengers on all of its ships The internet service on cruise vessels can be slow at times. In order to ensure fair usage for all, the line limits some heavy-bandwidth applications.

There are five things to know about internet use on a cruise ship.

Carry-on drinks policy

Unlike other lines, Viking allows you to bring your own booze onto ships. A corkage fee is not charged by the line.

Smoking policy

Smoking is only permitted in designated outdoor areas on ships. It is not allowed in cabins or on balconies.


All of the line's ocean vessels, as well as the one expedition vessel, have self-service laundry facilities on their cabins. Unlike on many cruise ships, the washing machines on the launderettes do not come with an additional cost.

Laundry and pressing services are offered by most Viking vessels. It is free for passengers in certain categories of cabins. Fees are comparable to what you would pay for a cleaner at home. On the ocean ships, dry cleaning is available, but not on the river ships.

There will be no pressing service on the Mississippi River ships.

Everything you need to know about laundry on ships.

Electrical outlets

All of the vessels have standard North American-style, 220-volt outlets in rooms as well as European-style, 220-volt outlets in cabins.


U.S. dollars are used on the ships.

Drinking age

You need to be 21 to drink on ships.

Dress code

There isn't a dress code during the day. Short-sleeve shirts and shorts are fine if you are going to the top deck on a warm day.

The evening dress code is not too formal. When going to any of the ship's dining venues, performances or special events, passengers are asked to keep things casual. It means a dress, skirt or slacks with a sweater or blouse for women, and trousers and a collared shirt for men. Men can choose a tie and jacket. jeans are not allowed

The evening dress code is not enforced at the World Cafe eateries on the ocean ships, where passengers can go more casual in the evenings.

There is a guide to packing for a cruise.

Viking cruise loyalty program

Viking doesn't have a loyalty program in the traditional sense, one where passengers earn points every time they travel with the brand and progress through multiple tiers that brings an ever-expanding array of perks. Basic perks for past guests are offered.

If you travel with the brand for the first time, you'll be a member of the viking explorer society. You will receive as a result of this society.

  • A credit of $200 per passenger anytime you book a Viking voyage within one year of your last Viking voyage. If you reserve within two years, you receive a $100 credit.
  • An invitation to a members-only Viking Explorer Society cocktail party when sailing on Viking ships.
  • Early word by email or regular mail on new Viking Cruises itineraries and new ships, as well as special limited-time offers.

It is not possible to combine the credits mentioned above with promotions.

There is a guide to Viking's loyalty program.

How much does a Viking cruise cost?

It isn't cheap to sail on a viking A ten-night voyage to the Greek Islands starts at $3,799. For a couple sharing a room, that works out to more than $750 a day. The cost of some of the line's more exotic sailings are even higher. The cost for a 14-night trip is more than $2,000 per day for a couple.

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A lot is included in the base price of a cruise line. In addition to a room on board and all meals, the fares include beer, wine and soft drinks with lunch and dinner, specialty coffees, teas and bottled water, shipboard wi-fi, and a shore excursion in every port. Most lines don't include shore excursions in their base fares, and they can be expensive.

A veranda suite on a Viking Longship. VIKING CRUISES

Access to the thermal areas of the spa is included in the base fares. It comes with an extra charge on cruises.

Port taxes and fees can add up to hundreds of dollars per sailing. Most other lines don't include port taxes and fees in their base fares.

Alcoholic drinks at bars and gratuities are not free for many luxury lines. Some people don't consider Viking to be the same brand as those other brands.

How to book

You can book directly at if you know what type of cabin you want, on which ship, on which itinerary, and more.

We always recommend that you use a travel agent who specializes in cruises because of the complexity of booking a cruise.

A travel agent can help you find the perfect cruise line, itinerary and cabin for you. If there is a problem before, during or after your voyage, an agent can help you.

Look for a travel agent who specializes in trips with the brand. Someone who has sailed on or at least inspected some of the line's vessels should be able to understand the various cabin types and onboard amenities.

Booking a cruise with points and miles is related.

If you don't use a travel agent, you should maximize your credit card spending by using a credit card that gives you extra points for travel purchases. 3 Ultimate rewards points per dollar on travel and dining is offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve 2 Ultimate rewards points per dollar on travel and 3 Ultimate rewards points per dollar on dining are offered by the Chase preferred card.

Bottom line

It is possible to define Viking by what it isn't. It isn't a line for families with young kids. Megaships with every sort of amusement known to humans is not a line that offers it. It isn't a line for the crowd.

It is a line that offers a deeper dive into the destinations that its ships visit than is typically offered by other lines. It is all about doing things in a comfortable way.

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