There are countless reasons to book a cruise with award-winning Viking Cruises but I narrowed them to this 8 Great Reasons Viking Cruises Are a Fantastic Value. One advantage of cruise vacations is “pay one price”—meaning what you pay when you book your cruise vacation is all you really need to pay.
On the other hand, a major point of contention for cruise passengers is the constant feeling of upselling. There are extra charges for alcoholic drinks, shore excursions, entertainment, premium food and drink, wi-fi, and much more.
River cruises traditionally offer more “all-inclusive” pricing, when compared to ocean cruises, with many or most amenities rolled into the overall price.
The award-winning Viking River Cruises brand made waves in the cruise industry when they launched ocean vessels and itineraries with river cruise amenities and all-inclusive pricing. I was invited to sail last month in December 201) on the Viking Star, Viking’s first ocean vessel.
8 Great Reasons Viking Cruises Are a Fantastic Value
The following amenities are offered on all Viking Cruises ships. While I experienced them on the Viking Star ocean itinerary, the same amenities are available on every Viking ship and itinerary.
1. Viking Cruise Balcony
For most mass-market ocean cruises, it is common for passengers to analyze whether to book a room with a balcony or pay less for an inside cabin—with the intent of spending a lot of time on the common deck areas. On the Viking Star, every room is a verandah room. Decision made. Brilliant!
2. Viking Cruise Tours
Viking offers a complimentary tour at every port stop. Port excursions are a huge add-on expense for ocean cruise passengers so it is very impressive that Viking transferred this common amenity from the river cruise world. The tours are quite impressive, too. All include comfortable transportation and professional local tour guides. Customers can opt to skip all tours and explore on their own, remain on the ship, pay for special or more comprehensive tours, or any combination, but it is so great to have a quality basic excursion as a baseline choice.
3. Nordic Spa on Viking Cruises
I imagine every ship now offers spa services, as spa treatments are a big revenue driver. Well, Viking is no different, as they provide massages, manicures/pedicures, and haircuts. Passengers can still experience the Norwegian themed spa, however, for no charge. Complimentary areas include steam room, snow room, salt water therapy pool, hot tub, ice bucket shower, and posture friendly spa chairs. I tried all of these, in the public area, many times. In addition, each locker room has a sauna, plunge pool, and (McCool Travel tip) showers with better water pressure than in the cabin.
4. Complimentary Wine and Beer
At every lunch and dinner, wine and beer are free. No further explanation necessary. Right?
5. Free wi-fi
Being digitally connected in the Mediterranean Sea in December is almost necessary. Of course I simply had to share pictures of me wading in the water, eating amazing food, and visiting ancient sites, because everyone wants to know my every move. Truly, though, it was a pleasant surprise to discover and experience full time wi-fi from every area of the ship and from every port. Other cruise lines can charge over $25 per day while on the open sea so Viking providing free wi-fi is simply amazing.
6. Special meals on Viking Cruises
A very popular revenue source for cruise ships is special dining areas. Many passengers are happy to pay an additional charge for a fine dining experience and take a break from dedicated seatings in the main dining room. As you can imagine by now, things are a little different with Viking Cruises. First, Viking Star does not have seating times. Passengers can come and go any time the main dining area is open. Second, Viking Star has two special dining areas that every passenger can and should experience at no additional charge (reservations highly suggested). One is Manfredi’s, a superb Italian restaurant (I still dream of their calamari); the other is The Chef’s Table, which offers an elegant five course meal and wine pairing with a theme. The night we dined here, it was an Asian theme featuring fresh crab and lobster dishes.
Maybe having complimentary laundry facilities is not sexy to you but it is a huge amenity for me. As a lifetime member of the carryon club, the ability to do laundry allows me to take longer trips with only carryon baggage. While I was thrilled to discover Viking Star had a laundry room on every passenger floor, what really impressed me is that no coins or supplies are needed. Did you get that? Washers and dryers are FREE. And no need to bring detergent because the washers automatically disburse it. How? Who knows? Simply amazing.
During an interview with the Captain of Viking Star, I learned the ship accommodates a maximum of 930 passengers but that other cruise lines would cram 2,000 to 2,500 passengers into the same size ship. Throughout my entire seven day voyage, I experienced relaxation and luxury without the feeling of crowds or rushing to beat the crowd. Some of our favorite areas, Explorer’s Lounge and Wintergarden, were never crowded and occasionally were empty.
While I only list 8 Viking Cruises amenities, there are countless others. My cabin had a king bed and US and European outlets. It was so nice to not worry about bringing an electrical adapter or converter. Viking Cruises also offers airport transfers for all passengers. Fantastic!
To learn about Viking Cruises food options, please read the McCool Travel article: Viking Star Dining Options That Will Blow Your Mind
Thank you to Viking Cruises for hosting me on the Romantic Mediterranean voyage.
Tell me about your favorite cruise experience. Or if you have not yet been on a cruise, do you want to?