Fodor’s Expert Review

Cruise StyleLuxury
Ship SizeMidsize
Prince Range$$$

Launched in 1997 as Viking River Cruises, the company, now simply known as Viking, has grown rapidly, adding ocean voyages in 2015, and expeditions in 2022. Today, Viking’s 91 vessels reach 88 countries on all seven continents, sailing on five oceans, 18 rivers, and five Great Lakes.Read More

Currently, the Viking fleet includes nine ocean ships designed to accommodate 930 guests, two Polar Class expedition ships with a 378-guest capacity, one 386-guest Mississippi River vessel, and 79 river vessels, including 55 identical Viking Longships.

Guided by the philosophy of “exploring the world in comfort,” Viking sets itself apart as “The thinking person’s cruise®,” geared toward curious travelers eager to learn about each destination. The cruise line even provides recommendations for background reading, film suggestions, and onboard video, and library selections to bolster understanding of the places and people guests will encounter on their trip. Shore excursions are devoted to themes including local life, working world, and privileged access.

Style-wise, each Viking vessel showcases the simple elegance of Scandinavian design, with a fresh color palette, calming wood tones, abundant natural light, and original Nordic artwork.

Top Reasons to Cruise

Good value.The Viking Inclusive Value program includes a range of services and amenities, including free Wi-Fi, beer and wine at lunch and dinner, and a complimentary shore excursion in each port.  
Stylish.The vessels’ elegant Scandinavian design is timeless, calm, and comfortable.
Light and airy.There are no interior cabins on Viking ships.
Friendly service.Viking’s well-trained staff are welcoming and quick to learn the name of each guest.
Smart.Onboard enrichment and shore excursions cater to curious travelers and promote learning.

Is This Line Right for You?

Choose this Line If
Don’t Choose this Line If
You want a relaxed, adults-only atmosphere    
You enjoy immersive cultural and culinary experiences        
You’re interested in an overland pre- or post-trip extension
You are traveling with children—the minimum age for passengers is 18  
You’re looking for showy casinos, shopping malls, art auctions, or amusement parks onboard  
You want a personal butler or a formal dress code

What to Expect on Board

Fitness & Recreation

Chefs prepare crowd-pleasing classics as well as focusing on “destination-focused dining” that delves into the local cuisine of each region where the ship sails.

Complimentary beer, house wines, and soft drinks are provided with lunch and dinner, along with 24-hour access to coffee and tea. A premium “Silver Spirits” beverage package is available for an extra fee.

Ocean and expedition vessels offer a range of restaurants, from casual to sophisticated, with plentiful outdoor dining spaces on all ships. Complimentary 24-hour room service is offered on ocean and expedition voyages.


Each Viking cruise features science, history, nature, or culture lectures by learned speakers, plus daily port talks informing passengers about the next day’s destinations.

Resident historians and guest lecturers are wise travel companions who are happy to answer questions and provide insights throughout each journey.

A variety of music, dance, and other cultural and artistic performances are tied to locations on the itinerary, and onboard classical musicians serenade passengers with chamber music throughout ocean and expedition cruises. Other onboard entertainment options might include cooking and artisan demonstrations, wine tastings, and more.

Viking.TV produces a wealth of special programming for guests to watch in the comfort of their own staterooms, including destination films, TED Talks, interviews, lectures, and more. A variety of other in-room TV shows and movies are also available.

On expedition ships, the eye-popping, panoramic, Aula auditorium hosts daily entertainment and information sessions, while ocean ships offer shows and lectures in a spacious theater, plus the Torshavn nightclub for cozy, after-dinner drinks and live music.

Fitness & Recreation

Ocean and expedition ships offer indoor and outdoor pools, along with free access to their Nordic Spa facilities, complete with swimming pool, hot tub, sauna, cold plunge pool, steam room, and frosty Snow Grotto.

Guests can also choose from a menu of Scandinavian-themed spa treatments for an additional fee. The fitness center is available at no extra charge, and includes treadmills, stationary bikes, ellipticals, weights, and a dedicated space for yoga and Pilates. Personal trainers can customize your workout for an extra charge. Each ship’s upper-level Sports Deck is designed for walking, lounging, and playing outdoor games including mini-golf, bocce ball, and shuffleboard.

Sun Decks on Viking’s river vessels have walking tracks, and some also offer swimming pools.

Key cruising tips

Although Viking offers a complimentary shore excursion for each port of call, there are also an array of optional shore excursions (available for an extra fee) that guests need to book in advance.  
Ocean and expedition guests are welcome to choose from any of the ship’s restaurants at no additional charge, however dinner reservations are recommended. (No dining reservations are required on river voyages.) Spa treatments should also be reserved in advance.  
Guests who book their flights or pre- or post-cruise hotel through Viking receive complimentary transfers to and from the ship.  
Wi-Free is available for free, and Mekong River, ocean, and expedition ships also offers computers in their Business Center for guests to use.

Your shipmates

Viking focuses on a well-educated, English-speaking, and affluent clientele, with most guests aged 55 and older. Passengers share a passion for learning and a curiosity about diverse cultures.

Dress code

The Viking dress code is casual for daytime, with “elegant casual” attire suggested for evening. Jackets and ties are optional for men. Self-service laundry facilities are available free of charge on ocean, expedition, and Mississippi vessels.

Junior Cruisers

Passengers must be at least 18 years old on the first day of a Viking cruise.


The courteous and efficient crew members are a fascinating bunch, representing a variety of cultural backgrounds. Staff from 90-plus countries are trained at Viking’s proprietary Viking College, and the company boasts an industry-leading 80% crew retention rate. Service onboard is friendly yet professional, and passengers can expect to be greeted by name soon after they arrive.

If there’s a problem, the Viking Service Guarantee ensures resolution of any service complaints lodged at check-in within 24 hours of the start of the cruise. If Viking can’t correct the situation, the passenger may receive a full refund.


Tipping varies according to the cruise destination, and passengers are advised to check with Viking before embarkation. Guests may pre-purchase gratuities through their passenger account on the My Viking Journey website before the cruise, or Viking can add a daily service charge for each guest that is payable on a final invoice when the cruise ends. Guests may tip local tour guides and drivers in cash at the end of each day’s excursion.

Past passengers

Viking cruise guests are automatically enrolled in the Viking Explorer Society. Perks include a members-only cocktail party during the voyage, access to limited-time offers and first chance to sign up for new itineraries, and a credit toward future travel: $200 per passenger if booked within one year of your last Viking journey; $100 per passenger within two years. Viking’s Referral Rewards program offers incentives ranging from a $100 travel credit if a guests refers a single new traveler, to a free cruise if a guest can refer 13 people within a calendar year.


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