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Jchivers

Are Viking Ocean cruises fun?

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My wife and I have done several cruises on HAL, Princess, and Celebrity; and we're seriously considering Viking for the first time for our next ocean cruise.  We have friends -- that we met on a HAL cruise -- who have done 2 Vikings since then and love it.  

 

Looking at Viking's marketing materials, they seem to place an emphasis on service, food, shore excursions, enrichment programs and what they *don't* have: casino, kids, formal nights.  

 

Reading between the lines - does this mean they're a bit stodgy?  What does one do for fun on a Viking sea day?  Is there showroom entertainment?  Music?  Dancing? Bingo?  Trivia games?  Or is it all lectures and excellent service?

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Since you are coming from main-stream lines you may be disappointed in the offerings on Viking.

We love the excellent food, service and congenial fellow cruisers. The ship tends to be very quiet, which we also love and one can always find places to read and sea watch. 

We were drawn from some of the luxury lines by the NO children, NO  Casino and casual  NO formal vibe.

Not all lines are for all cruisers.

Edited by orchestrapal

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Having spent 35+ years with Princess, we eagerly await our first Viking Cruise, departing Jan 2020. Will it be fun on our many sea days, I believe it will be, but fully accept that"Fun" is highly subjective, as many pax like the new mega ships, sailing with 6,000 + new friends. However, we consider them rather ghastly.

 

Viking ships do have daily trivia on sea days, as do the other ships. I am also looking forward to informative lecturers and port talks, that actually focus on the ports, rather than being infomercials for businesses that pay the cruise line & shopping host. I am also looking forward to not having to reserve a pool lounger around sunrise and having numerous quiet nooks where I can sit and read, or work on my blog/photos.

 

They provide similar music that Princess frequently provides in the Atrium, have shows in the Lounge and also a nightclub for those staying up later. However, you won't find bingo. You also won't find annoying photogs blocking the public rooms or shoppies setting up tables with junk. 

 

If relaxing in the cabin, you have a large selection of films available on the TV.

 

You can also search older threads, as someone posted all the daily schedule sheets listing the activities, etc. You may also want to search for the "Why Viking" thread, as it lists all the benefits of cruising with Viking rather than mainstream cruise lines.

 

The other consideration, unless taking a World Cruise, or segment, Viking has very few, if any sea days.

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Thank you for the replies! 

 

More thoughts on Viking vs. the big mainstream lines: 

 

Good point about sea days -- that's a plus in Viking's favor, that they get into ports the big ships can't.  (Although I do like to break up the bustle of port days with a sea day.)

I agree about lectures being focused on the port's history/culture/natural features, and not the shopping.  That's my least favorite thing about Princess, and something that I think Holland America does well.

We actually spend very little time around the pool, so fighting for a lounger is never an issue.

I'm a bit put off by Viking's casino/kids/formal nights policy ... I think those are all good things, in moderation.  Photographers never bothered me.

I wouldn't miss bingo.  Trivia, though...I've got armloads of swag that I've won from shipboard trivia contests. :)

 

One thing we love to do onboard is relax in the spa's thermal loungers, gazing out at the sea.  So we're distressed to see that Viking puts their spa in the basement.

 

Is there a line that's a step up from the mainstream with regards to service and quality, but still retains all the "fun"?

 

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My husband and I have done 2 Viking ocean cruises and will be taking another one in April. Obviously we are big fans of Viking ocean and a lot of that has to do with what they don’t have - children, casinos, Las Vegas style entertainment, etc. We also love the size of ship - only 930 passengers. Their ships definitely appeal to an older demographic. For instance, I would never recommend Viking to anyone younger than 45. There is live entertainment most evenings in the theater which runs 9:15pm to 10pm. That suits us since we like to get an early start in the morning. I can’t speak to life after 10pm but the Torshavn Bar has live music and dancing into the late night. It is true that there is an emphasis on enrichment programs and lectures. Schedule allowing, we attended most of them. When in ports, we kept busy either exploring cities on our own or taking tours. Days at sea also seemed to be full and you can participate in trivia games, line dancing, “Movie Under the Stars” on the pool deck, etc. Also in the early evenings, live music (e.g. classical guitar, piano, string duet) is performed in both the Atrium and the Explorers Lounge. Made for an enjoyable cocktail hour before dinner. We seemed to keep busy all the time. I would suggest that you discuss your concerns with your HAL friends since they have done Viking cruises. Keep in mind that river and ocean cruises are vastly different so make sure it’s Viking ocean you are getting their opinion on.

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The other consideration, unless taking a World Cruise, or segment, Viking has very few, if any sea days.

 

I don't agree ... our 2 week "Into the Midnight Sun" had 4 sea days ..... and we enjoyed every one ... so it depends on the itinerary you choose.

 

Frankly I don't miss the casino or much of the other 'cruise activity' such as pool games.  We did have a fun afternoon with the 'blue nose ceremony' ... if you don't know well I'll not give away the secret.  So far as the hidden spa ... tru the actual spa is 'buried' but the infinity pool was QUITE WARM as was the main pool with its associated hot tub warmer yet. And there was entertainment of some form every night.

 

 

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SrCruizer - your activities list sounds perfect, and goes a long way to ease my concerns.  We're also early-to-bed-early-to-rise types, but it's good to know that we can find music and dancing after dinner.  It doesn't sound like we'd find karaoke or silent discos, though?

 

My wife and I are 60-ish, but have no aversion to being around younger people. 

 

(We had a blue nose ceremony on our HAL Northern Europe cruise.  Fun!)

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2 hours ago, SrCruizer said:

For instance, I would never recommend Viking to anyone younger than 45. 

 

My partner and I were 40 and 45 when we took out first VO cruise last year (Midnight Sun  - on the Star) and looking forward to booking another when our schedules permit (Alas, not among the retired set...yet).  We loved the ship and the entire trip despite being well below the average age.  We are not ones for crazy nights out.  We just enjoy nice meals, and relaxing in style and peace.  The explorers lounge was our place to be most evenings...and we often closed it down (there were very few other passengers in there "late night" most nights).  

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Have friends who had done extensive big ship cruising.  They hated Viking Ocean, finding it boring with too little going on.  Lame entertainment. 
I just wish more people felt that way so I didn't have to book my Viking cruises 2 years ahead.

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DW and I are also in our early 60's and had been cruising with Royal, X and Princess for 25 years prior to trying VO last November.  We really enjoyed it,  especially the lectures and the food which is a major step up from the mass market lines.  DW loved the included excursions, wifi and wine with dinner.  Her favorite activity was afternoon tea which we went to every day (and I'm a coffee guy).  It was always well attended which allowed us to meet people in a friendly relaxed atmosphere.  We did miss the big ship entertainment, but you can't expect broadway style productions on a ship with only 930 passengers.  I'm currently hoping to talk her into a couple of segments of the world cruise this fall.

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Regarding VO’s age demographic, I shouldn’t have stated a specific age but it was in response to the person worrying that Viking might be too “stodgy”. On both our cruises we fit right in age wise - 60 plus. My 40 year old Dr. went on a VO ship and had a great time. He did state that he seemed to be the youngest. When deciding on a cruise line, you have to do your homework and decide what your priorities are. The right cruise ship is out there for everyone.

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15 minutes ago, SrCruizer said:

...When deciding on a cruise line, you have to do your homework and decide what your priorities are. The right cruise ship is out there for everyone.

 

Is there an app somewhere, where you can indicate all your choices and priorities -- like, weight the importance of food, service, price, nightlife, room size, rock-climbing walls... and it picks the ideal cruise line?  If not, there should be!

 

Our worst cruise experience was last year, on Celebrity, Alaska.  The group next door would close the disco every night and then move the party to their balcony (which was of course immediately adjacent to ours and our bed), blasting music at 2:00 AM.  It took us multiple complaints to get this sorted out.  Maybe I'm stodgier than I'm willing to admit.  🙂

 

Edited by Jchivers

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We found that eating good food, having amazing service, relaxing on a beautiful ship was great "fun".

 

It was our first Viking O, cruise. we booked two more. Just wish others didnt like it quite as much so the rates would not keep going up. 

 

So grateful to get away from those who love to be with children, casinos, belly flops, loud music, tasteless decor etc.  There are plenty of lines that will offer you all that.  By the way, there are NO prizes for Trivia. Correction , a drink from the bar, but those are all included during meal times. 

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10 minutes ago, nancyshaw said:

 By the way, there are NO prizes for Trivia.

 

OK, that's a deal-breaker.  I'm not going anywhere that I can't get a free t-shirt.

 

[/sarcasm]

Edited by Jchivers

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You mean a free pen. Getting a tshirt by playing Trivia on Celeb , you practically have to sell your soul. Have several of them, yes I am soulless. lol

 

We did have fun on our first, recent VO cruise. Met wonderful people, saw first run movies, enjoyed the pool almost by ourselves as well as the therapy pool.  

 

Of course I  should keep all this to myself. So let me correct my post.

 

VO is dull, full of old, boring people. Its like sailing in a mausoleum. Dont make the mistake we did. Stick to Carnival, Hal, Princess and oh yes Celebrity. Especially since now Celebrity is advertising, CHILDREN sail free. 

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1 hour ago, Jchivers said:

 

OK, that's a deal-breaker.  I'm not going anywhere that I can't get a free t-shirt.

 

[/sarcasm]

I recall the days when the trivia/game show prizes on Princess were reasonable quality, as we still have passport holders, luggage tags, quality pens, etc. However over the past 15 years they have steadily declined to being really cheap plastic on our last cruise with them in 2015.

 

They got so bad that when we won trivia, we declined any prizes. 

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My wife and I (in our 60's) enjoyed our 2 VOC's so much that we booked several more while on board the last one.

Per your concerns about "having fun", I think that everyone's definition of fun might be different.  You should probably try to decide what things are most important to you since you won't likely find every top item on any one cruise line.  There are pluses and minuses to all of them.

We'd been on other cruise lines (that start with 'N') and didn't care for the loud parties (i.e. balcony issues on the previous post!), noisy casinos, waiting in line to get on/off the ship, boorish behavior, getting nickeled and dimed for everything, and more.  I swore I would never do a cruise again - until friends took a Viking Ocean Cruise and highly recommended them... for us and our interests.   Again - that might not be the right cruise line for everyone of you.   If you are "a bit put off by Viking's casino/kids/formal nights policy ... I think those are all good things, in moderation.  Photographers never bothered me", then perhaps Viking isn't for you.

Viking does have a very loyal fan group I have seen and now know why.  They have indeed become much more popular in just the last year, so they must have hit a good market niche with the product.

This list came from a poster in a Viking Forum and I'm sorry I don't remember who to credit, but it was so appropriate.  Hoping this gives you more insight. 

WHY TRY VIKING OCEAN CRUISES:

Try it because you are tired of mindless entertainment.

Try it because you don't need a casino.

Try it because you are sick and tired of the nickel-and-diming.

Try it because you can live without other people's children.

Try it because you are more interested in the ports of call than in partying until dawn.

Try it because you are never asked to pose for photos.

Try it because you are never asked to pose for photos.

Try it because you like cruising among friendly people.

Try it because you are invited to BYO wine, beer, or other potables.

Try it because you don't have to hide in your room to drink your BYO.

Try it because there is no corkage fee in the dining rooms.

Try is because specialty dining is included.

Try it because there is no formal night.

Try is because there is no bang-bang music

Try is because there are nooks and crannies everywhere to read, relax, and just be.

Try it because the tables in the cafe are set with silverware and napkins and a beverage server comes to take your beverage order as soon as you sit down.

Try it because room service will deliver delicious coffee and juice, even on debarkation day, within 10 minutes of your call.

Try it because room service is included and you can even have the free beer & wine at meal time delivered to your room.

Try it because the free spa area is ubelievable!

 

Take Viking because the staff can't help enough.  If you have an issue they are quick, efficient, and do their job with a smile.

Take Viking because even the service at the buffet is better than any other cruise ship.

Take it because you love the regular English tea in the afternoon.

Try it because you never have to wait much at all to leave or return to the ship.

Try it because everyone, including the crew, greets you with a smile.

Try it because you are a guest, not just a wallet.

Try it because there are no inches of golf tables blocking the Atrium.

Try it because you'll be sailing with 900+ people rather than 2500+.

Try it because there is no karaoke.

Try it because there is no bingo.

Try it because people do not need to reserve/hog lounge chairs in the pool area or open decks.

Try it because you will not see a flaming Baked Alaska parade

Try it because of the Resident Historian and Enrichment programs.

Try it because you'll never have to see a napkin waving waiter sing-along at dinner.

 

 

 

 

 

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CCWineLover, thank you for that list!  I'm 90% convinced that I would very much love it.  (A few items on the list have me scratching my head, but to each their own.)  I guess I need to try one and decide for myself!  🙂  

 

btw, we have a Viking river cruise booked for next year -- our first ever river cruise -- but I'm sure that's a whole different animal.

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10 hours ago, Jchivers said:

CCWineLover, thank you for that list!  I'm 90% convinced that I would very much love it.  (A few items on the list have me scratching my head, but to each their own.)  I guess I need to try one and decide for myself!  🙂  

 

btw, we have a Viking river cruise booked for next year -- our first ever river cruise -- but I'm sure that's a whole different animal.

 

The river cruises are different, but the Viking Experience is the same. Other than that long list which is more ocean, than river, there is something undefinable that is very different and very addicting about sailing with Viking - either river or ocean. You either feel it or you don’t, but most do. 

 

We did a river cruise first and loved it. Did an ocean cruise and loved it. Booked another ocean cruise, another river cruise, did the river cruise, booked another ocean cruise. We are now hoping to win the lottery so we can book all the cruises in their brochures 😁

 

The question was will you have fun. I’d say that depends on your definition of fun. Mine is simple - anything that’s not work is fun. My definition of work is anything I don’t want to do 😜

 

On Viking, I have found the people make it fun - both staff and fellow guests. We have met the nicest people all around on Viking. They are full of the joy of life and make whatever they are doing fun. 

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1 hour ago, Cyber Kat said:

 

The river cruises are different, but the Viking Experience is the same. Other than that long list which is more ocean, than river, there is something undefinable that is very different and very addicting about sailing with Viking - either river or ocean. You either feel it or you don’t, but most do. 

 

We did a river cruise first and loved it. Did an ocean cruise and loved it. Booked another ocean cruise, another river cruise, did the river cruise, booked another ocean cruise. We are now hoping to win the lottery so we can book all the cruises in their brochures 😁

 

The question was will you have fun. I’d say that depends on your definition of fun. Mine is simple - anything that’s not work is fun. My definition of work is anything I don’t want to do 😜

 

On Viking, I have found the people make it fun - both staff and fellow guests. We have met the nicest people all around on Viking. They are full of the joy of life and make whatever they are doing fun. 

Cyber Kat,

Thanks for putting my thoughts into words so perfectly! 

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3 hours ago, Cyber Kat said:

 

The river cruises are different, but the Viking Experience is the same. Other than that long list which is more ocean, than river, there is something undefinable that is very different and very addicting about sailing with Viking - either river or ocean. You either feel it or you don’t, but most do. 

 

We did a river cruise first and loved it. Did an ocean cruise and loved it. Booked another ocean cruise, another river cruise, did the river cruise, booked another ocean cruise. We are now hoping to win the lottery so we can book all the cruises in their brochures 😁

 

The question was will you have fun. I’d say that depends on your definition of fun. Mine is simple - anything that’s not work is fun. My definition of work is anything I don’t want to do 😜

 

On Viking, I have found the people make it fun - both staff and fellow guests. We have met the nicest people all around on Viking. They are full of the joy of life and make whatever they are doing fun. 

 

Well stated Cyber Kat!

I couldn't have put it better.  I totally agree - there is a special feel on board that Viking has managed to create.   We look forward to getting back in that mode, no matter what the ports or itinerary are.

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I share these reservations about our first Viking cruise later this year. We are not really party people, don't like the casino & have usually retired before midnight, but I do like to dance after dinner - & to something more recent than the Beatles. Liked the Beatles back in the day, but my mother still likes them & she's in her 90s. Will try the whole experience with an open mind. If this is not our niche, we'll move along. Have sailed previously on Azamara, last 10 on Regent & Silversea.

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4 minutes ago, nuneham said:

I share these reservations about our first Viking cruise later this year. We are not really party people, don't like the casino & have usually retired before midnight, but I do like to dance after dinner - & to something more recent than the Beatles. Liked the Beatles back in the day, but my mother still likes them & she's in her 90s. Will try the whole experience with an open mind. If this is not our niche, we'll move along. Have sailed previously on Azamara, last 10 on Regent & Silversea.

 

I can’t speak for every cruise or Viking ship but on our West Indies cruise on the Viking Sea last year Torshavn Lounge was hopping every night!  The dance floor was always filled!  The house band seemed very attuned to the crowd and the music changed to keep people dancing. If the floor emptied a bit sometimes they’d play a slow song to give people a rest, but then they would segue Into a different decade or genre. They played everything!

 

 

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The only negative I have read (correct me if I'm wrong) is that people use the Infinity Pool as another hot tub instead of actually swimming in it.

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