Home » Viking Ocean Cruises. Can it be a success?

A relatively newcomer to the Viking story, Viking Ocean Cruises has bravely invaded the competitive world of ocean cruising. But was this a smart move?

In 2014, when I first heard about Viking Cruises plans to build Viking ocean ships and go head to head with the big boys like Carnival, RCCL, Princess and the like, I have to admit, I thought it was going to be an unmitigated disaster.

The competition was seriously tough. The market seemed pretty much saturated and the market shares divided by the major players.

I wondered to myself just how this really successful and well established river brand could possibly translate itself into a successful ocean-going brand.

I had no idea that the river brand was really the catalyst in style and thinking for the ocean brand.  Viking Ocean Cruises has bravely invaded the competitive world of ocean cruising, and, I was totally wrong –  the move was a smart one.

Viking Oceans Star

The market niche was identified, most probably more than a little inspired by the successful river operation. The model was in place. It made sense to take on the big blue and branch out from the river.

And Viking Ocean Cruises hit the water with a real celebratory splash. The buzz began soon after the launch of the first vessel Viking Star in 2015.

In a few short years, Viking Ocean has established itself as a top medium sized cruise line and earned many coveted awards and accolades.The ships have been rolling out ever since 2015 and the ocean division is expanding as fast, if not faster than Viking river operations.

The difference of the product

Viking Ocean has developed something unique. It has encompassed both the world of river with the world of ocean. The ships are luxurious, the spa and gym are fantastic.

The public areas are amazing and the restaurants are top grade. However, it is an understated elegance of a river cruise. There is no casino jingling noises in the background or massive production shows in the auditorium.

The volume of frenetic activity is dialed right down but the experience of an ocean voyage remains. The many prestigious travel awards and word of mouth of Viking Ocean Cruises has seen the operation grow as fast, if not faster than the Viking River Cruises story.

The organisation, from owner Torstein Hagens’ incredible vision down to all the corporate implementation and then to every employee is successful due to the model offered by Viking’s river operation. Travel the world in comfort and see it what it really offers. It is just plain awesome.

There are some very different aspects to a Viking Ocean ship and what others offer. To help you make that choice, I think it’s easier to tell you what Viking Ocean is not:-

• No Casinos

• No Children Under 18

• No Umbrella Drinks

• No Photographers

• No Inside Rooms

• No Formal Night

• No Smoking

• No Lines

• No Charge for Beer & Wine at meals

• No Charge for Alternative Restaurants

• No crowds to contend with

• No Charge for Wi-Fi (Unlimited)

• No Charge for Use of Launderette

• No Entrance Fee for The Spa

• No Sales Pressure for Spa Services

• No Art Auctions

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The Viking Ocean Ships

Length
745 ft
Beam
94.5 ft
Guests
930

  • Viking Star 2015
  • Viking Sea 2016
  • Viking Sky 2017
  • Viking Sun 2018
  • Viking Orion 2018
  • Viking Jupiter 2019  
  •  Viking Venus 2021

What can you have with a Viking Ocean Cruise?

Imagine the ability to enjoy 49 000 tons of ship with just 930 other guests. The layout is magnificent with many public spaces to hide for some quiet reading time or just a chat with your new found friends.

Dining facilities include the very stylish Manfredi’s, a fine restaurant where you can enjoy Italian cuisine at its best with an ambience to match. Based on the most delightful of Trattatorias, the menu boasts authentic and local ingredients.

But your choice is not limited to just that. Try out the Chefs Table in which culinary sensations are created by guest chefs, paired with the finest wines. In the words of Karine Hagen; ” Dining here is a culinary journey, a marriage of cultural enrichment, gastronomic exploration and regional cuisine…”

You also have your main dining restaurant and Mamsen’s which is a delightful deli. The lounges, public spaces are numerous. It is impossible to feel crowded on these superior small sized ships. Viking Cruises offers the best of both worlds and Viking Ocean is the latest exciting development.

One of the most popular areas on board to eat is at the World Cafe buffet area, offering a great selection of food for all tastes

On Board Lifestyle

Life on board will be a comfortable and easy going experience where almost all your needs will be fulfilled. Free WiFi is available throughout the ship and it also has a small dedicated internet cafe. The speeds are pretty reasonable for an ocean travel vacation.

Plenty of thoughtful places in the staterooms and public areas for USB ports and charging your devices. Power outlets are offered as 110v and 220 v for your convenience.

The first thing that will strike you about an Ocean cruise with Viking is the relaxed atmosphere and sense of general and personal space afforded you. You will not feel like you are in a huge town at sea with a Viking ship. The ergonomics are superb and the experience of travel is very much relaxed without stuffy formal nights and crowds of people lining up for a show or food.

I think you will love this product and be looking to make plenty more booking to explore the world with Viking Ocean Cruises.

Find out more about Viking Ocean

The LivNordic Spa is definitely one of the highlights to those looking for some rejuvenation and exercise.

Viking Ocean ships

The thermal suite is available to all guests and you do not have to have a spa treatment booked to enjoy it.  This suite includes two therapy showers. 

A thalassotherapy pool is also available, a place where the guests can simply unwind and relax is warm restorative water. It does get busy on sea days and, while never jammed, it may seem a bit too many people in one place for your liking. A hot tub is present as well. 

Furthermore, the gym equipment is state of the art, with aerobic machines including treadmills and cycles  and weight resistance machines with the much needed dumbells.

Remember, this is a European ship. The metric system rules – all equipment and distance measured in kilograms and kilometers.

Viking Ocean Cruises Guest Feedback

Listening to guest feedback from those who have traveled Viking Ocean, the reviews are very positive. Naturally, there are less gushing reviews that I hear, but overall, the experience for a guest seems to be exceptional.

On the downside, some feel that the lack of a gambling facility in the form of casino is a negative. Others have mentioned that the ships are not geared towards younger families. This is true.

There are no programs for kids and the general ambiance is geared for adults. The minimum age to sail is 18.

Mention has also been made of limited drawer space in the standard suites and I have heard that the nightly entertainment is a bit patchy.

*Update: The entertainment situation has since been addressed and more variety and production is on hand.

Obviously Viking does not look at Vegas style floor shows as a part of its package, rather more focused on the cultures and history of the destinations on the itinerary.

You have history lectures and port lectures that are highly rated. That does not mean you will have zero entertainment but the entertainment will be lower key with some singers/a dance troupe, local cultural performances, a few musicians, movies and trivia. 

 

Viking ocean

The included shore excursions are still a continual work in progress. Many guests have mentioned that they did not enjoy the disparity between the included shore excursions and the optional (paid) ones. 

In conclusion, with my experience on river, I do know that Viking Cruises prides itself in top notch included excursions with great guides and so I anticipate that this is being addressed with great focus and energy by the excursions department.

Want to learn more about Viking river cruises. Check out my Viking Program Directors blog

Viking Ocean cruise Sailings

VIKING OCEAN ​has ordered more new-builds, ​now ​the company target​​s ​10 ocean ships by 2023

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