Plenty of articles cover basics of Viking Cruises—where they sail, ship and stateroom layout, what to do in ports, onboard food and activities. Instead of repeating that information, this McCool Travel article provides a deeper dive and useful information, so you can fully experience these Viking Cruises secrets from the start.
Here are some of our favorite Viking cruise secret things to do. Know others? Leave a comment, please.
Afternoon Tea on Viking Cruise
On our Viking Ocean cruise I skipped the afternoon tea but made sure to visit it on our recent river cruise. Actually, I also skipped the first afternoon tea on the river cruise but when I saw the treat my wife brought me, I decided to had to check it out.
Afternoon tea does not occur every day but if you are not busy on a tour definitely try to make it, even just to claim some snacks for later.
Food and More Food on Viking Cruises
Yes, food is an important feature on Viking Cruises, as it is on all cruises. You will have no trouble finding food, no matter when you want it. There are snacks in the lobbies, including tasty breakfast muffins, specialty coffees, and cookies and hot drinks throughout the day. The Viking Star (and all the Viking Ocean Cruises ships) offers 24×7 room service. Ah, but everyone knows these things.
- Arrive early for lunch. The signs on the Viking Freya outside terrace indicate that they open at noon but my experience is that it opened earlier. Just linger about in the lovely lounge chairs. If undecided about eating here or in the restaurant, stroll by the restaurant to check menu.
- Food requests. On the river cruise, lunch will have specified items buffet style or by request (menu). If you prefer something else, maybe from a prior day’s lunch, ask if you can have it. It will be freshly made and something you prefer.
- Ask and receive: There is also a process for dinner on the river cruise; you order your appetizer, entree, and dessert at the same time. Well, one night I wanted to try two different entrees. It seemed so unusual to everyone at the table and the server but I asked. I feasted on the halibut AND rib eye steak; and both were delectable.
- Gelato: On the Viking Star (ocean itinerary), remember that certain gelato flavors may only be available for one day of your voyage. A great Viking ocean cruise tip is to check out those gelato flavors early, maybe even before choosing the rest of your food. Heck, I did!
- Free Drink: You already know that wine and beer are free on Viking Cruises (for lunch and dinner). Right? Well, a little Viking Cruises secret I learned (shhh!) is that you can sometimes get the drink of the day for free just by hanging out in the Viking Cruises lounge areas.
Viking Cruises Upclose Tours
Most Viking Cruises tours use buses to cover as many attractions as possible. In some destinations, however, Viking offers a more active option called an Upclose Tour. Attendance is limited (usually 20) and attendees see the destination more intimately, instead of mostly on a bus.
In Budapest, for instance, we walked across the Chain Bridge, ascended the hill in the funicular, explored Buda (mostly before other tour groups arrived), rode a bus back to Pest, walked to Grand Central Market, and rode the tram back to the Chain Bridge stop (near the ship).
A nice advantage of the Upclose city tour is learning and using the public transportation without buying the tickets and figuring out the system.
Viking Cruises Bathroom Amenities
Compare the Viking Cruises bathroom amenities (the Freyja lotion) to those at a five star property in Budapest. The Viking Cruises tubes are much larger and convenient. So, if you are having a post-cruise vacation, snag some Viking Cruises lotions.
On my recent river cruise, Viking Freya, the public restrooms were super clean, rarely occupied, and more spacious than the stateroom restroom. Because two people in one stateroom might, you know, have a scheduling conflict.
On the Viking Star (Mediterranean Sea itinerary), the spa is amazing and free. On most days, I headed to the hot tub, steam room, and therapy pool (and maybe the snow room, brrrrrr) in the afternoon, before dinner.
I discovered that the locker room shower had more water pressure than my stateroom shower. What Johnny Jet said about the slippers is true!
Blankets on Viking Cruises
On the Viking Freya, our Danube river cruise, there were a couple of occasions where passengers went on the top deck to watch the ship go through locks or for scenic sailings. Since we had unseasonably chilly weather, the blankets were in high demand.
Some blankets could be found on the lounge chairs. If the lounge area blankets are all claimed, the top deck has a plentiful supply of large, clean and often warm towels. Sorry I have not figured out any secret to avoid the smoking area which is right on the walking track.
Viking Cruises Daily Briefing
Since I received the daily newsletter in my cabin and signed up for excursions before my cruises, I figured there was no reason to attend the pre-dinner briefing. Plus, it seemed that everyone rushed from the lounge (where the Briefings are held) to dinner, so I thought I was slick by avoiding the scrum and heading to dinner a few minutes early.
Well, my brilliant wife started going to the briefings and said they were very entertaining and informative. At one briefing she learned about the Upclose city tours. That was worth the price of admission, which, of course, there is none.
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