For my latest blog I thought I would try something a little different. Talking about an experience I would like to have, rather than one I have had. A journey with Viking Cruises!
Unfortunately, I have never had the luxury of cruising with Viking, not least because they are a touch out of my price range. This coupled with the length of my cruise to-do list means it’s unlikely I will be sailing with them any time soon…after all, I’m not sure I have the willpower to save for that long without going on a cruise! None the less, Viking Cruises have appealed to me since I first started cruising back in 2009 for reasons which are not all that clear. There is something about their ethos and origins which deeply resonates with me, enticing me to come onboard. Whether it be the fact that I am a small part Scandinavian (in fact, almost a quarter according to AncestryDNA!) or just their subtle luxury and inclusiveness, one thing’s for sure – I am 100% certain that I will journey with Viking one day!
In terms of their origins, Viking Cruises are still in their infancy when compared to long standing giants such as P&O Cruises and Cunard. Now in their 21st year, they are recognised as arguably the best river cruise line in the world and are now taking the realm of ocean cruising by storm. It’s hard to believe that it was only in 2015 that Viking launched their first ocean going vessel and yet now this is set to increase to a total of 16 ships by 2027! By 2019 they will be able to boast the largest small ship fleet at sea. Numerous awards and currently standing as the #1 choice for cruisers according to CruiseCritic, it’s hard to find a reason why you wouldn’t want to give them a try.
More recently Viking Cruises have been hitting the headlines for slightly different reasons – their entry into the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018 – The Viking Cruises Wellness Garden, sponsored by Viking and designed by Paul Hervey-Brookes – was awarded a coveted Gold Medal. Cue some fantastic promotional shots with Joanna Lumley along with the classically gorgeous Viking Huskies, and I’ve fallen in love with Viking even more – if that were possible! Who doesn’t love a Husky in a red Viking bandanna?
Gardening…Cruising…Huskies…add in a gold medal in baking and life would be complete! So, if you’re not sold by Viking Cruises already, I thought I’d highlight my Top 5 reasons why I’d like to cruise The Viking Way:
1) Viking inclusive value – Viking Cruises may be more expensive, but what’s included in the price is hard to beat. From shore excursions in every port, to speciality coffee, teas and bottled water. Beer, wine and drinks with dinner to speciality dining, unlimited WiFi and 24-hour room service. Almost everything is included in the price of your cruise, including gratuities for us Brits!
2) Scandinavian at heart – Founded by Norwegian born Torstein Hagen, Viking Cruises is Scandinavian at heart and this echos throughout their fleet of over 60 River and Ocean going vessels. Marketed as ‘Serene Scandinavian Spaces’, elegant, light and airy interiors await, thoughtfully designed to help you make the most of every moment.
3) Cultural enrichment – Viking Cruises have partnered with a number of carefully selected experts and brands from the BBC and ClassicFM to TED, an organisation devoted to spreading bold new ideas and sparking conversation, National Geographic and even Terracotta Warriors. With resident historians and musicians to world-class lecturers, destination insights and performances, along with a cookery school and more to boot, there are no end of opportunities to expand your horizons when cruising with Viking!
4) Subtle luxury – From thoughtfully designed, all veranda staterooms with award-winning bathrooms, to attention and service second to none, Viking Cruises are sure they will offer you the perfect journey. Focusing on the thoughtful and authentic details bringing you closer to the world, there are no glitzy novelties, formal nights, cues or photographers. Instead focus is given to the detail, providing elegant and luxurious spaces designed to help you explore and engage with your cruise and itinerary.
5) The small ship experts – I realise this won’t appeal to all, but I am lucky to love all sizes of ship. Soon to boast the largest small ship fleet at sea, Viking pride themselves on their award-winning fleet specifically designed to allow direct access into most ports. At 47,800 tons, each ship carries just 930 guests, but don’t let their size fool you – each ship boasts a wide choice of restaurants, including the most al fresco dining at sea, an infinity pool, a Nordic-inspired spa, panoramic Explorers’ Lounge and thoughtfully curated book collections throughout the ship, and more.
‘Designed for discerning travellers with interests in history, art, music and cuisine, Viking Cruises offers guests ‘the thinking persons cruise’.’
I am well and truly sold on cruising ‘The Viking Way’ and that was even before I started my Top 5! Scandinavia, and particularly Norway, is my #1 destination and happens to be the area I have cruised the most, exploring as far North as Longyearbyen within the Svalbard Archipelago. From Husky sledging, snowmobiling and the Northern Lights, to quaint villages hidden in the splendour of the Fjords, Norway is one of the most magnificent areas of the world (a subject for another post I believe!). Given my love for all things Scandinavian, there doesn’t seem a more fitting way to explore the world than in Viking style. Also offering bespoke itineraries which encompass both river and ocean cruising in one holiday, as someone who has yet to try a river cruise, this sounds like the perfect type of itinerary to entice me onto the rivers of the world!
If you’ve cruised with Viking I would love to hear from you! Let me know in the comments or over on Facebook. I hope you enjoyed this insight into Viking Cruises. One things for sure, someday I am determined to try a cruise ‘The Viking Way’.
Keep smiling and happy sailing! 🙂