My first Viking cruise
I have just returned from my first Viking ocean cruise onboard the incredible Viking Sea. I was invited by Viking to join them on a portion of their ‘Into the Midnight Sun’ cruise and was blown away by the ship and the itinerary. We did find the midnight sun and it was GORGEOUS.
I was amazed by the number of things that were included in the cruise that cost extra on other cruise lines. During this post, I will detail everything included in your cruise fare and explain a little about how it works/my experience with it.
To find out more about this cruise click here: Viking Sea, into the midnight sun (Norway 2018).
Wifi is completely free on Viking woohoo! I’m actually using it right now to write this post. It’s been pretty good and you can use it on as many devices as you’d like at the same time. You just log in with your room number and surname. There is no limit on how much WiFi you can use although Viking do reserve the right to kick you off if you start downloading movies or things like that. We cruised around the Norwegian Fjords and didn’t really need to use the WiFi too much because we had great 4G signal.
I understand the above picture isn’t of WiFi.. but it’s quite hard to photograph WiFi! So here is a lovely place you could sit onboard while using the Wifi.
The WiFi signal was actually pretty good. I managed to send photos and update my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook without any problems. It wasn’t good enough for video really but it was okay for making WhatsApp/Skype calls without the video part.
2. Drinks with Lunch/Dinner
During meal times wine, beer and soft drinks are included. This isn’t just in the main restaurants, you can also get the drinks from the buffet or if you are eating at places like the poolside grill you will be offered drinks. If you are in the buffet you can pick up a can of coke/fanta etc as you walk past which I LOVE. It makes it so easy.
If you’re ordering room service for your lunch you can also order a drink and you can pick up one from the pool grill.
3. Spa entry
Entry to the spa is inclusive in your cruise fare. On most other cruise lines you have to buy a pass to the thermal area either on an hourly, daily or whole cruise basis. The spa onboard the Viking Sea includes all of the usual things you’d expect from a spa including pools and saunas but t also includes a snow grotto and a water bucket! The snow grotto is a room which is filled with snow (no surprises there) and the water bucket is so that you can pour cold water on yourself… I decided not to do the water bucket.
Blue Nose Ceremony
Prior to going into the spa, we had taken part in the ‘blue nose ceremony’ which is a ceremony where you jump into a pool filled with ice. This ceremony takes place when you enter or leave the arctic circle. We joined part way through the cruise so we missed the ‘into the arctic circle’ ceremony but the Viking team were great and organised it so that we could do it on the way out. They used 40 bags of ice!
4. Daily Excursions
In every port, there is an excursion included with your cruise. Excursions can be REALLY expensive so this was one of the things that surprised me most when I realised that it was included in the fare. We took the included excursion in each port and they were really good. I’m not normally a person who books excursions, preferring instead to get off the ship and do my own thing. However, the included Viking tours were never more than half a day-long meaning that you also had time to get off the ship and wander around.
All the excursions that we took were mostly by coach but there were plenty of opportunities to get off and admire the views/walk around.
5. Bottled water
Bottled water is available at no extra charge, both in your cabin and around the ship. On most other cruise lines you have to pay for bottled water or buy it as part of a package. There are a couple of cruise lines where even if you buy the unlimited beverage ‘ultimate alcohol’ package they still will not include bottled water.
Having the bottled water around really encouraged me to drink more water which is always good. It’s also great to be able to pick up a bottle when you get off the ship.
6. Tea and Coffee
Tea and Coffee are free all the time, everywhere! I’m not much of a coffee drinker but I’ve been told by my friends that I was sailing with that the coffee was really good. There is also a coffee machine in the stateroom and it comes with little coffee pods. On some cruise lines, you have to buy those pods!
In the buffet, there are take away cups which you can use to make a cup of tea/coffee in. I love being able to wander off with my tea so this was appreciated! My cup of tea seen below in the winter garden.
For the first time in my life, I HAVE EATEN FROM THE CRUISE SHIP MINI BAR! I would normally never consider paying for the items in the mini bar, instead viewing the mini bar as just a fridge. Onboard Viking the mini bar is included. How often it is replenished depends on your cabin grade. The standard balcony cabin is only filled at the start of your cruise but the other categories are filled whenever they are empty. That said my mini bar did keep filling itself up.
8. Alternative restaurants
Viking doesn’t have any restaurants where you have to pay extra. Once you are onboard it’s actually pretty hard to spend money because so much stuff is included. They do have restaurants which are ‘alternative’ which definitely would be speciality on other cruise lines. The food on Viking was absolutely amazing. I cannot fault a single thing with the food at any point. I think I’ll have to write a full review about the food!
Below is the food from the Chef’s table Asian tasting menu.
9. Room service
I am used to cruising on cruise lines where they have room service but it is often a very small menu or you have to pay for it. Some cruise lines offer free breakfast room service but very few have a menu as big as Vikings. Onboard Viking you can get a 9oz steak delivered to your room for no extra cost! I enjoyed breakfast room service which came promptly at the time I requested. You simply fill out the order form, leave it on your door before 11 pm and then in the morning, your food arrives. Easy peasy! (They even cut up my banana for me).
10. Return flights
If you’re in the UK and you book a Viking cruise return flights from the UK will be included. All transfers are also included which means that you don’t have to worry about anything! Vikings main market are from the UK although many of the passengers onboard our Norwegian cruise were from the US.
11. Laundry (Including washing powder)
Many other cruise lines have free to use laundry but you usually have to pay for the washing powder etc. On some cruise lines, you have no option to wash your own clothes at all and have to pay to have them washed for you. Onboard Viking there is a laundry on every floor which is open all day and completely free to use.
I usually only use the laundry to iron the odd dress/shirt but many people chose to do all of their washing onboard so that they don’t have to do it when they get home.
12 – I MISSED NUMBER 12!!
I do actually have a first class maths degree but that doesn’t mean I can count… I only have 11 things in this post but the title says 12. Please leave me a comment letting me know if I’ve missed anything so I can update this post!!
Would I recommend Viking Ocean Cruises?
I would 110% recommend Viking. The ship was absolutely gorgeous and the atmosphere onboard was so relaxing. I have written a full diary/guide of my time onboard. Detailing everywhere we went, everything we did and most importantly, everything I ate! To get an idea what it is like to cruise with Viking click here: Viking Sea: Into the midnight sun.
DISCLAIMER: I was invited onboard as part of a press trip. All views and opinions are my own!
I also filmed a couple of tour videos onboard and a cabin tour. Please consider subscribing! Emma Cruises – YouTube Channel.
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