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I am a long time cruiser on Princess, with several cruises on Holland and Celebrity.  I am considering moving up to a more premium line.  So, for anyone that has sailed on both Viking and Oceania, I would be interested in your thoughts.  The pricing over Princess is roughly double when you compare apples to apples.  I am fully aware of the differences between lines regarding excursions, drinks, airfare, etc.  I am just trying to find out what the "experience" is like between Viking and Oceania so that we can pick one that best suites our wants.

 

I have reservations for a Viking river cruise in 2022, but this question is just about the ocean sailings.  Thanks.

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While you are waiting for responses here, I know that using the search function here is not the easiest but there are already a couple of threads that have done a very nice job of of comparing the two cruise lines. Even if you have to go page by page through the list of threads, it may well be worth the effort to do so since there is no guarantee that the people who commented in those threads are still following this forum or will comment here as well.

 

Also, a number of years ago, someone challenged the followers of this forum to tell her why she should give Viking a try. You may find that answers given there help describe the Viking experience:

 

 

 

 

 

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I spent almost 40 years with P&O/Princess, but the 2015 World Cruise was our last cruise with them. Spent a couple of years researching a new preferred cruise line, short listing Viking & Oceania, both of which I researched extensively.

 

Can't help with Oceania, as we elected to go with Viking. In addition to the references Peregrina provided, I maintain a travel blog, which has a number of Princess v's Viking comparisons.

 

Regarding price. I compared our 2015 Princess WC to the 2020 Viking WC. Yes, the Viking base fare was about 60 - 70% higher, but by the end of the cruise, the per diem cost of both cruises was almost identical.

 

Our travel blog - www.AndyandJudi.com   Please note, the blog is only a record of our travels and is not monetarised in any way, so we gain no benefit from visits.

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We were happy travelers with Oceania back in the days before they became part of the larger conglomerate.  We only traveled twice with them after that, and - definitely our opinion only, as I know they have a ton of loyal fans - we felt that the overall quality had significantly deteriorated.  We noticed it especially in the food quality - (I know there will be errors coming my way for that statement; remember, I'm comparing it to what it was back in 2004-2005 vs. much later) - and general service levels in both the various dining spots and with the room keeping staff.   Again, I'm comparing it to what it was many years ago, so for anyone who doesn't have that basis of comparison, your mileage will almost certainly vary.


Setting aside any comparisons, what we love about Viking is what has been so well articulated in all of the spots mentioned above...no casino, no kids, really high-quality lecture series on a wide variety of topics, and absolutely top notch crews from the Captains on down.  (We feel this way in comparison to the two luxury lines we sailed on, once each, to try them.  While both experiences were very very nice, we came away wishing we had stuck with Viking.)

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10 hours ago, Jim Avery said:

Oceana lost us with the big "Kids Sail Free" brochure we got.  No Kids on Viking really makes a difference. 🍸 

Well stated!

If you want a cruise line with no kids, no casinos then Viking is really the top option!!

If you want kids and a casino - you'll stay away and do Oceania. (or others)

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1 hour ago, aungrl said:

We were happy travelers with Oceania back in the days before they became part of the larger conglomerate.  We only traveled twice with them after that, and - definitely our opinion only, as I know they have a ton of loyal fans - we felt that the overall quality had significantly deteriorated.  We noticed it especially in the food quality - (I know there will be errors coming my way for that statement; remember, I'm comparing it to what it was back in 2004-2005 vs. much later) - and general service levels in both the various dining spots and with the room keeping staff.   Again, I'm comparing it to what it was many years ago, so for anyone who doesn't have that basis of comparison, your mileage will almost certainly vary.


Setting aside any comparisons, what we love about Viking is what has been so well articulated in all of the spots mentioned above...no casino, no kids, really high-quality lecture series on a wide variety of topics, and absolutely top notch crews from the Captains on down.  (We feel this way in comparison to the two luxury lines we sailed on, once each, to try them.  While both experiences were very very nice, we came away wishing we had stuck with Viking.)

 

Although we have never sailed on Oceania, I have no problems with believing your experiences, as sadly they are all too common when one of the big 3 purchase other lines. Since NCL bought Prestige 6  or 7 yrs ago, I have no doubt the standards on both Oceania and Regent have dropped.

 

Viking being completely independent is another huge benefit, in addition to the no kids, no casino, etc.

 

Viking's introduction to the market has also forced some changes at Oceania, who started providing complimentary Wi-fi a few years after Viking Ocean started operations. 

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Having sailed on both Oceania and Viking, we prefer the smaller Viking ships. We enjoy the lectures that are also available on your cabin TV.  The mini frig is great. There is a lot of storage even in the bath. Room Service has always been very quick with hot items arriving hot and cold items arriving cold. Breakfast room service has never been late.

When our New Zealand/Australia cruise was quickly ended when Australia closed ports in March 2020; Viking quickly arranged to get passengers back to their homes. 

We would sail with Oceania if Viking did not offer a similar itinerary especially on the smaller Oceania ships.

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Viking does not have any big "Shows" for entertainment.  Viking offers 1 or more lectures each day. Lecture subjects are on local culture and history. On our New Zealand/Australia cruise one of the lecturers was an Astronomer from Tasmania.

 

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2 hours ago, MSEm said:

Viking does not have any big "Shows" for entertainment.  Viking offers 1 or more lectures each day. Lecture subjects are on local culture and history. On our New Zealand/Australia cruise one of the lecturers was an Astronomer from Tasmania.

 

We love the program of the resident historian and the lecturers, and attend many of them. For those new to Viking, they do have a small troupe of entertainers who appear around the ship, in Star Theater, and in Torshaven (the small nightclub). We have found these musicians, singers, and dancers quite talented, and there is a real range of offerings from classical to rock. We have only ever sailed with Viking, but I do gather that the offerings on the large cruise ships are certainly more elaborate. 

 

We never felt a lack of something to do onboard ship, including the time spend with a glass of wine  and conversation with new friends!

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Regarding the entertainment when we weree younger and cruise Royal Caribbean and Princess we would hit almost all of the shows.  That started to slow down and the last cruise we did was a cruisetour on Princess from Toronto to NYC.  While we thoroughly enjoyed it we found we did not go to one production show.  We spent most of the time in the bars talking to people even then the bars were so packed we just did not want to fight for seats.

 

We are looking forward to our first Viking cruise next year.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We have mostly sailed w/ Viking Ocean & River. On Viking Ocean, we did Homelands, Auckland to Bali(B2B), Buenos Aires to Santiago.  We also did the Mediterranean w/ Oceania Riviera in 2018 - Athens to Barcelona(B2B).  We prefer Viking for the number of reasons mentioned by others but we also enjoyed our Oceania cruise so we would consider them for the right itinerary.

 

 IMHO, I think the food and specialty restaurants on Oceania are better than Viking, better than Crystal.  However the food on Viking is still excellent.  However I prefer Viking's afternoon tea service, it is just so pretty in the Wintergarden and you are served a tower of goodies and have a choice of loose tea leaves.  

 

Alcohol is not included on Oceania which is fine by us, one advantage is that the bar will serve you nonalcoholic drinks, no additional charge, so you can have club soda, soda, or a virgin pina colada.  I think you are charged for soft drinks outside of meal time on Viking.

 

All excursions cost extra, no included excursions like Viking.  This may be an advantage if you prefer to book your own excursions, rather than rely on the ship's excursion.

 

There is a greater range of cabins on Oceania; they are much smaller on the smaller ships that only hold 600 or so passengers.  On Riviera we had a non-veranda cabin that was a just little bit bigger than Viking's standard veranda cabins; the difference was the bathroom layout, it was like a regular bathroom, toilet & small shower to the left of a full sized vanity & sink, full tub/shower combo on the right of the sink.  We are fine in the standard Viking bathroom; just the layout is different.

 

I found the Riviera ship to be tired looking - it might be refurbished by now.  Viking ships are sleek, new, and modern.  Internet is very good on Viking(of course it depends on location), there is no fee to use the spa area for the whirlpool, sauna, & ice grotto.  

 

What really sets apart for us about Viking is really the quality of customer service and responsiveness that we have come to experience.  Our last Viking ocean cruise was the first time that Viking was sailing the Buenos Aires to Santiago itinerary as a regular run and we were so impressed w/ the attention to detail to make sure our cruise was as seamless as possible which can be challenging when working out the bugs of a new sail route.  Hope this helps.

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We have cruised on both, and find them pretty similar.  I would say the passenger base is certainly about the same, although perhaps a tiny bit more inclined to dress nicely on Viking rather than Oceania, but neither group goes for real, true dress up.  In my opinion, Viking tends to draw a little less adventuresome crowd, a little less likely to go off on their own in ports or plan a private non-ship excursion.  Oceania goes everywhere, truly everywhere, and often to the lesser-known ports that end up being wonderful surprises to me.  But Viking is at least getting a bit better at that, as they expand their fleet.  But with their larger ships, they may never be able to go all the places O goes.  I also like that O's itineraries give hours the ship is expected to be in each port - kind of important to me.  Viking has a number of overnights in port, which is nice, but sometimes not necessary for us, as we usually go to the embarkation port early on our own.   If you like itineraries with few sea days, you'll love Oceania.

 

I feel Viking is a little more expensive than O, all things considered, especially if you're willing to take one of the less expensive rooms they have on O - if you can get them!  (Book early!) And if you don't drink and could care less about free beer and wine, and the free half-day excursions, you may definitely find Viking cruises a little more expensive.  

 

Honestly, I love both lines.  Viking Ocean ships are SO beautiful.  Oceania is a little more fun. My spouse favors Oceania by a little, as there's more to do in his opinion - more active, lively activities, and a casino, and very fun cruise directors.  Both lines have made good changes due to Covid, and both have great food and service.  I don't think you can go very wrong with either line. 

 

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We went on an Oceania cruise in 2006 in the Mediterranean and loved it. (Nautica) We were excited to return in January 2019 (Sirena) to cruise to Cuba. We were disappointed on several levels. We thought the food had diminished in quality. The ship and our cabin certainly needed refurbishment. Maybe we had changed, but things we now care about were not the same. We like wine with dinner and not having it included made dining a little awkward with others. Do you share the bottle you purchased? The lectures were substandard. It did not help there were several alumni groups on the ship and they had their own "private" lectures and talks. Oceania maybe had two the entire week because the alumni groups brought their own speakers. After a few days, we went to the alumni lectures and sat in the back, and no one seemed to care, but it did make you feel a little second class. No shore excursions were included.

 

Three months later we were on our first Viking Ocean cruise and after only a day or two we said we would never go back to Oceania. What was important to us were the fabulous lecturers, the wonderful food in a much larger selection of venues (larger ship), a fabulous spa and workout facility, new (Orion) ship, wine with lunch and dinner, wonderful classical music on board, and a larger variety of shore excursions, with one included. The no casino and no children was also a plus. 

 

Everyone is different, but we can't wait to return to Viking Ocean. 

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Posted (edited)

In the name of transparency I must say I've never sailed with Oceania. My two sailings with Viking Ocean were Trans Atlantic crossings. After 30 years sailing mostly Princess & HAL I'd become very disappointed in the on-board experience & general direction those lines were going. I found hotel operation standards slipping in areas of cleanliness, food, & service....... Enter Viking Ocean. 

 

Quite frankly I've never felt so comfortable at home on a ship as I do on Viking Ocean. The crisp Scandinavian beauty throughout the ships is well documented. The ships remind me of the original Pacific/Island Princess  & Royal Viking Line ships. Each lounge inviting with nooks & crannies & comfortable seating, floor-to-ceiling windows. Beyond that it's the atmosphere aboard Viking has created. It's the most blissful Zen At Sea experience. So calming & mellow.....for those(me) who want that sort of thing. On the other side is the varied extensive activities & live entertainment, always at the right time & place. Background music is just that, always at the right decibel, never obtrusive. The service is sincere in a connected way, never perfunctory. From one cruise to the next crew who were the same remembered me & my preferences. It felt like coming home to family. With all the coddling & catering I almost got the impression that I owned the ship. Truth be told, everyone on-board is treated similarly. I could go on ! 

Edited by Myrtle Ave. Mayhem
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28 minutes ago, Myrtle Ave. Mayhem said:

From one cruise to the next crew who were the same remembered me & my preferences. It felt like coming home to family. With all the coddling & catering I almost got the impression that I owned the ship. Truth be told, everyone on-board is treated similarly. I could go on ! 

 

Exactly my feeling about sailing with Viking and that is exactly how I felt when we boarded January a year ago, "It's nice to be home again."

 

People worry about booking a V cabin. I tell them that no one cares what cabin you are in; everyone is treated as if they were sailing in the Owner's Suite.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Peregrina651 said:

 

Exactly my feeling about sailing with Viking and that is exactly how I felt when we boarded January a year ago, "It's nice to be home again."

 

People worry about booking a V cabin. I tell them that no one cares what cabin you are in; everyone is treated as if they were sailing in the Owner's Suite.

 

 

 

We have sailed on Oceania on the Riviera and Marina, and had a booking on Viking primary for the itinerary, unfortunately it was a victim of covid and cancelled.  I am very comfortable with Oceania and will continue with them as we have a future reservation.  Our experience with Viking with the booking, advanced payment, and the air fare program give me some reluctance which reduce the enthusiasm of future cruises.  Covid has been a real disaster for many.

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We received an refund to our credit card yesterday for only $1,000 which was our deposit, but the remaining balance for our full payment was not refunded.  Is this the normal operating procedure for Viking?

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On 4/13/2021 at 5:50 PM, shank63 said:

Our experience with Viking with the booking, advanced payment, and the air fare program give me some reluctance which reduce the enthusiasm of future cruises.


As has been said many, many  times by many CC folk, the business side is entirely different from the on board experience.  I wish Viking would get the message.  
(By the way, I grew up in Davidson.)

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