Viking Cruise: Viking Star: balconies

8 Great Viking Cruises Secrets

Now that I have sailed with Viking Cruises on ocean voyages (larger boat) and a river itinerary (traditional small boat), I feel qualified to share some Viking Cruises secrets with you.

Plenty of articles cover the 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.

8 Great Viking Cruises Secrets

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.

 

Enjoy these Viking Cruises secrets from the start of your Viking River Cruise or viking ocean cruise instead of discovering them near the end, like I did.

Viking Cruises tip: these shortbread treats are amazing

 

Enjoy these Viking Cruises secrets from the start of your Viking River Cruise or viking ocean cruise instead of discovering them near the end, like I did.

Viking Cruises tip: Believe me, no other onboard Strudel is better than this!


 

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.

 

Enjoy these Viking Cruises secrets from the start of your Viking River Cruise or viking ocean cruise instead of discovering them near the end, like I did.

Viking Cruise Secrets: hang out in this lounge and be first to eat lunch

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.

Enjoy these Viking Cruises secrets from the start of your Viking River Cruise or viking ocean cruise instead of discovering them near the end, like I did.

our Viking Cruise tour guide leading us across the Chain Bridge in Budapest

Enjoy these Viking Cruises secrets from the start of your Viking River Cruise or viking ocean cruise instead of discovering them near the end, like I did.

riding the Budapest funicular on a Viking Cruise Upclose tour

Enjoy these Viking Cruises secrets from the start of your Viking River Cruise or viking ocean cruise instead of discovering them near the end, like I did.

Tips for Viking Cruises: view for Upclose tour (but not other tours)

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.

Enjoy these Viking Cruises secrets from the start of your Viking River Cruise or viking ocean cruise instead of discovering them near the end, like I did.

Viking Cruise bathroom amenities are really good

Public Restroom

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.

Better Shower

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.

Enjoy these Viking Cruises secrets from the start of your Viking River Cruise or viking ocean cruise instead of discovering them near the end, like I did.

Viking Freya traversing a river lock along the Danube River

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.

Enjoy these Viking Cruises secrets from the start of your Viking River Cruise or viking ocean cruise instead of discovering them near the end, like I did.

Viking Cruises have helpful and friendly crew members

Enjoy these Viking Cruises secrets from the start of your Viking River Cruise or viking ocean cruise instead of discovering them near the end, like I did.

Viking Cruises Secrets: sign up for the Captain’s Bridge tour

Want to read some Viking Cruises reviews?

What Viking Cruise tips or secrets have you discovered?

 


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8 Great Viking Cruises Secrets was first published for McCool Travel on 24 May 2016.

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21 Responses to “8 Great Viking Cruises Secrets”

  1. McCoolTravel (@CharlesMcCool) April 28, 2019 at 4:53 pm #

    There are now several Viking Ocean vessels and they all have the same layout. So, anything I say about Viking Star or Viking Sea applies to all Viking Ocean ships.

  2. Janell November 5, 2018 at 10:22 am #

    I loved each morning going out on the outside deck and found I could order anything I wanted for breakfast
    Also just to let anyone know if you are thinking of doing a river cruise in Europe the drought is bad and you could be on a bus quite a bit

    • McCoolTravel (@CharlesMcCool) November 11, 2018 at 8:00 am #

      Excellent point. The water levels seem to happen every year now. There were no problems when I did a river cruise in May but later in the year there is less water. i do know that when the water is low, Viking does everything it can to make the experience even better.

  3. Kris Carr July 16, 2018 at 12:35 pm #

    Thank you for your comments! Have been on 3 river tours, looking forward to first ocean trip…Alaska! Can’t wait. Trying to get ideas for Viking Ocean trip….love anything Viking!

  4. Johanna A Castro (@JohannaACastro) July 22, 2016 at 11:18 am #

    We’re currently cruising with Princess Cruises and some of these tips are great for me to abide by too! Seems as if you’ve gleaned some useful tips and hints from your sea and river cruises with Viking – and your pictures certainly make me want to go on one too 🙂

    • McCool Travel July 22, 2016 at 8:23 pm #

      Hi Johanna. Indeed, I expect some of these secrets to transfer to other lines. Hoping to confirm that soon! 😀

  5. Vicki Winters July 21, 2016 at 1:53 pm #

    Everything about it looks amazing! Glad you shared the dining room secret!

  6. The GypsyNesters July 19, 2016 at 3:47 pm #

    We love Viking. On our forth cruise with them now (ocean this time). Really have to agree about the daily briefings, we learn so much from them.

    • McCool Travel July 20, 2016 at 6:48 pm #

      Fourth? Dang. I should find out your secrets. 😀

  7. Lara Dunning May 26, 2016 at 9:08 pm #

    Every time I see a commercial I say, “I want to go on one of their cruises.” This is great to get insider know-how. It will come in handy.

    • McCool Travel May 29, 2016 at 9:44 am #

      Thank you, Lara. I am sure you will discover other secrets.

  8. Vicky and Buddy May 26, 2016 at 8:51 pm #

    Thanks for the tip about the Upclose Tours. I think that sounds way better than a tour spent mostly on a bus! lol

    • McCool Travel May 29, 2016 at 9:44 am #

      Most definitely. They are a fantastic option for active travelers.

  9. Dannielle May 26, 2016 at 11:20 am #

    I like the sound of Afternoon Tea on board! I juts got back from Budapest and I didn’t get to go on the funicular but now I regret it.

  10. Sue Reddel May 25, 2016 at 10:25 pm #

    Great tips! I agree with them all. One more thing – if you do blow off the daily briefing don’t arrive in the dining room much after the dinner time the crowd takes all the good seats so arriving early is key especially when you’re cruising past a fantastic town you’ll want to see.

    • McCool Travel May 29, 2016 at 9:49 am #

      For sure. That is what I was doing. I was skipping the briefing and arriving at dinner early to grab a couple of good seats.

  11. Wyld Family Travel May 25, 2016 at 5:45 pm #

    These cruises look amazing for certain types travelers for slow travel or easy travel its perfect. For traveler who only want to scratch the surface i would say. Thats not us at this stage but maybe one day

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