Viking Ocean Cruises
Viking Ocean Cruises is the oceangoing line by the team behind Viking River Cruises. Launched in spring 2015, the ocean cruise ships take some of the most notable aspects of the river voyages and offer them at sea. First off, the ships are more all-inclusive than their competitors, with Wi-Fi, alcohol, specialty restaurants, and some shore excursions incorporated into the fares. There are other similarities too — headphones are waiting in your cabin on arrival for use on guided city walking tours, and you'll find plenty of modern Scandinavian design details, from blonde wood to furniture with clean lines.
That said, the experience on these ships is very much its own thing, and cruisers who have vacationed on the river ships may even be pleasantly surprised. The gorgeous décor and attention to detail are complemented by a comfortable, romantic atmosphere that serves couples well. Best of all, these two ships offer some of the most impressive dining experiences on the high seas.
What We Love
Manfredi’s: This Italian restaurant blows the competition away, with Florentine steaks, house-made pastas (including a rich lasagna), and show-stopping desserts, such as ricotta cheesecake and pistachio cake.
Mamsen’s: Think of this as the most personal restaurant on any ship at sea. It serves the recipes of the CEO’s mother, with waffles (topped with traditional brown cheese or with sour cream and jam) at breakfast and smørrebrød sandwiches with pea soup at lunch. During the afternoon, you can choose from gorgeous cakes to sample with your tea.
Afternoon Tea: The lovely afternoon tea on these ships takes place in the glass-topped Wintergarden space, one of the prettiest areas of the ship. There, you'll find live music, pots of tea, and tiered trays of finger sandwiches and sweets, as well as warm scones with clotted cream and jam.
The Chef's Table: This restaurant is a unique concept in cruising: Every three days, the menu changes to celebrate a different world cuisine. Fortunately, they all seem to earn stellar reviews, from the Finnish meal to the Chinese one, complete with handmade dumplings.
Modern Cabins: It's the details that stand out in these elegantly designed cabins, from the heated floors in the bathrooms to the bookmarks offered on your end table if you leave a book there, and plenty of bedside USB ports in which to charge your phones and tablets.
Itineraries Are Extending Beyond Europe: At first, this line only sailed in the Baltic and Mediterranean regions, but now you can sail in North and South America as well, including a variety of Caribbean sailing options.
Best Known For
Stylish Décor: These ships have a Scandinavian look and feel that reflects the heritage of the line's owners. Expect plenty of blond wood and bright, airy spaces as well as artwork culled from around Northern Europe.
An Incredible Spa: The Northern European-style spa isn’t just gorgeous, it also has a thermal suite — complete with a snow grotto and a cold shower designed to look like a water bucket that dumps on your head. Access to the spa's facilities are complimentary for all passengers — not just those getting treatments.
Walking Tours: The included shore excursions are, like on the river vessels, walking tours with guides who speak into Quietvox systems to passengers wearing headphones.
Shop for Cruises
Who It's Best For
Active, Older Couples: Like river cruises, these ships attract a sophisticated crowd of 50-, 60-, and 70-somethings, most of which travels in pairs but seem to make friends easily with their well-traveled cruise mates.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
No Kids Allowed: Viking Ocean Cruises does not allow children under the age of 16 on any sailings and, even if they did, there aren't any kids clubs or other facilities on board.
Sherri Eisenberg is the New York City-based editorial director of ShermansCruise.com.