Is a balcony something you can’t live without when staying in a cabin on a cruise ship? If so, Viking could be your line.
Viking is one of the only cruise brands in the world that offers a balcony with every cabin on every ocean ship it operates — even the least expensive, smallest cabins. That’s something that even the most upscale of Viking’s ocean cruise rivals — including Oceania Cruises, Azamara, Seabourn, Silversea Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises — can’t say.
Viking’s ocean ships also offer a large number of suites, many of which are quite spacious. If you’re looking for a room that is big and open on an ocean cruise (and are willing to pay extra for it), Viking has plenty of options.
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Viking also offers many balcony cabins and suites on its river ships — something that isn’t always the case in the river cruise business, where space on vessels is at a premium. However, unlike its ocean ships, Viking’s river ships aren’t all-balcony-cabin vessels. Some can have as many as 25 cabins per ship that are below the waterline and have windows high in the walls.
Still, even on Viking’s river ships, most cabins are balcony cabins.
A Viking cabin primer
Cruising regulars know that most cruise ships offer cabins in four broad categories: windowless “inside” cabins, ocean-view cabins, balcony cabins and suites.
As noted above, though, you’ll only find the latter two types of cabins on Viking ocean ships. Viking currently operates seven traditional ocean ships aimed at the English-speaking market and two oceangoing expedition ships. Every single passenger room on all nine of the vessels is either a balcony cabin or a suite with a balcony. As previously mentioned, that’s highly unusual in the cruise business.
A Penthouse Junior Suite on a Viking ocean ship. VIKING CRUISES
Viking is also known for a relatively simple-to-understand array of subcategories of rooms within its balcony-cabin and suite categories. Unlike some cruise brands such as Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line, which offer as many as 36 different sub-types of cabins, Viking’s ocean ships offer just six.
The bottom line is that you’ll be much less flummoxed when trying to choose the perfect cabin for you on a Viking ocean ship than when trying to choose a cabin on most other vessels.
When it comes to size, even the smallest cabins on Viking’s ocean ships are large by cruise ship standards at 270 square feet, and the largest suites measure nearly 1,500 square feet.
Design-wise, Viking cabins and suites across all categories are modern and elegant in an understated sort of way, with Scandinavian-influenced furnishings and decor that tie to the Norwegian heritage of the company’s founder.
You’ll find beds topped with crisp, white duvets and Scandinavian throws, comfortable contemporary sofas and chairs in neutral tones, and light wood desks and side tables that combine to offer a residential feel in bedroom areas. Soothing, minimalist colors — think creams, grays and lighter blues — are the order of the day.
Bathrooms in Viking cabins are serene, modernist escapes with luxurious travertine marble-lined walls; Scandinavian-influenced, wood-veneered vanities; shiny white sinks; and chrome fixtures.
An Explorer Suite bathroom on a Viking ocean ship. VIKING CRUISES
Viking is an upscale line — some might even call it a luxury line, though Viking doesn’t market itself that way. Still, Viking cabins and suites have a lot of thoughtful touches, from sumptuous bedding that envelops you to heated floors in bathrooms. The rooms aren’t overly flashy, though.
Instead, they are eminently functional, with storage in all the right places, lots of outlets for charging your devices and lighting right where you need it. We love the reading lights built into the fabric headboards of beds, which come in addition to the lamps on bedside tables. You won’t have trouble seeing the pages of the Viking Daily activity newsletter while lying in a Viking cabin bed.
Other little touches in Viking cabins that show the line’s attention to functionality include the large and clear lettering on the Freyja toiletries that you’ll find in every Viking cabin bathroom. The toiletries were specifically designed with bigger and clearer lettering than is common for toiletries so that the line’s older customers (Viking’s core market is in the 55- to the 75-year-old range) would have no trouble differentiating the body wash from the shampoo.
Labeling on toiletries on Viking ships is large and clear. GENE SLOAN/THE POINTS GUY
In a similar nod to functionality and ease of use, Viking had the remote controls for cabin televisions specially designed so they would only have a few buttons.
Balcony cabins on Viking cruise ships
Viking keeps it simple with the array of balcony cabins on its ocean ships. The line’s seven traditional ocean vessels aimed at the English-speaking market each have 418 balcony cabins that can be broken down into three categories:
42 Veranda Staterooms (10% of the total).
272 Deluxe Veranda Staterooms (65% of the total).
104 Penthouse Veranda Staterooms (25% of the total).
The first two categories, Veranda Staterooms and Deluxe Veranda Staterooms, are the same size at 270 square feet (a figure that includes balcony space). They basically look the same. However, the Deluxe Veranda Staterooms, which cost more, have better locations on the ships and come with more amenities and services. These extra amenities and services include:
Earlier access to shore excursion reservations (67 days in advance of sailing versus 60 days).
Priority access to spa treatment bookings (60 days in advance).
One guaranteed priority reservation at every alternative restaurant on board, which can be made 60 days in advance of sailing.
Binoculars in the room.
Coffee machines with premium coffee and tea selections in the room.
A traditional, super-soft Norwegian Marius-weave blanket for use in the room.
Passengers staying in Deluxe Veranda Staterooms can also access their rooms one hour earlier on embarkation day than those staying in Veranda Staterooms.
A Deluxe Veranda Stateroom on a Viking ocean ship. VIKING CRUISES
Both of the first two categories of balcony cabins come with minibars stocked with complimentary soft drinks, water and snacks. In the case of Deluxe Veranda Staterooms, staff replenishes these minibars once per day.
Penthouse Veranda Staterooms offer more space than the latter two categories, at 338 square feet, plus additional amenities and services, including:
Priority shore excursion reservations that can be made 77 days in advance of sailing.
Two guaranteed priority reservations at each alternative restaurant on board, which can be made 70 days in advance.
Priority spa treatment bookings that can be made 70 days in advance.
Minibars that include complimentary alcoholic beverages as well as soft drinks, water and snacks (replenished once daily).
Complimentary clothes pressing and shoeshine services.
A welcome bottle of Champagne.
Earlier access to cabins on embarkation day.
Viking’s two expedition ships, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, also have three categories of balcony cabins with a similar array of amenities and services. Named Nordic Balcony, Deluxe Nordic Balcony and Nordic Penthouse, the cabins of these three categories are slightly smaller than the cabins of the three balcony cabin categories on the traditional Viking ocean ships at 215, 215 and 269 square feet, respectively. They also have a different type of balcony that makes them feel more spacious than their square footage suggests.
Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris have what some in the cruise industry call an “infinite veranda” — a balcony-like space created by a window wall that opens from the top down. Viking calls them Nordic balconies.
The majority of Viking river ships, known as Viking Longships, have 61 balcony cabins broken down into two categories: 205-square-foot Veranda Staterooms and 135-square-foot French Balcony Staterooms.
The latter has doors that open onto simple balustrades and not full balconies that you can step onto. This feature is known as a French balcony or Juliet balcony (a nod to the balcony of this type made famous in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”). Technically, these French balconies are balconies, even if they’re not quite as satisfying as a balcony with space to lounge.
Including the French balcony cabins, nearly 75% of the cabins on Viking’s Longships have balconies.
Viking also offers smaller versions of its Longships that have fewer balcony cabins, as well as a few different types of river ships with varying numbers of balcony cabins.
Suites on Viking cruise ships
The suite choices on Viking ships also are relatively easy to understand. On Viking’s traditional ocean ships, there are 47 suites broken down into three categories:
32 Penthouse Junior Suites.
14 Explorer Suites.
One Owner’s Suite.
The Penthouse Junior Suites measure 405 square feet, including their balcony space, and come with such extra amenities and services as:
Priority shore excursion reservations that can be made 87 days in advance of sailing.
Three guaranteed priority reservations at each alternative restaurant, which can be booked 80 days in advance.
Priority spa treatment bookings that can be made 80 days in advance.
Minibars with complimentary alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, water and snacks.
Complimentary laundry, dry cleaning, pressing and shoeshine services.
A welcome bottle of Champagne.
Binoculars in the room.
Coffee machines with premium coffee and tea selections in the room.
In addition to a bed area, Penthouse Junior Suites have a large sitting area with a sofa, coffee table and chairs, and a separate television. The bathrooms are large, too.
Life starts really getting good in the 14 Explorer Suites on Viking’s traditional ocean ships. They range in size from 757 to 1,163 square feet, including balcony space, and bring even more enhanced amenities and services.
Each of the Explorer Suites is a two-room complex with a well-appointed living and dining area complete with a table that seats four people. Very large master bathrooms feature a double-sink vanity, a spacious glass-enclosed shower and a bathtub (something you won’t find in any of the lesser cabin categories on the vessels).
The living room of an Owner’s Suite on a Viking ocean ship. VIKING CRUISES
The Owner’s Suites, of which there is just one on each traditional Viking ocean vessel, are truly sprawling and impressive complexes that measure 1,448 square feet. They are true owner’s suites in that they are used by Viking founder and chairman Torstein Hagen when he sails on the ships, and they feature some of his personal mementos, including family pictures.
Each of the Owner’s Suites has a separate bedroom, living room, dining area that seats six people and master bathroom that includes a sauna with a glass wall facing the ocean.
The dining area of an Owner’s Suite on a Viking ocean ship. VIKING CRUISES
In addition, each of the complexes has a boardroom with a long table that seats 12 people for meetings and catered dinner parties. There’s an adjacent pantry that can be used by staff serving room service or catering hosted events. Among other personal touches related to Hagen, the company founder, are book, wine and music collections that he curated for the rooms.
Viking’s two oceangoing expedition ships, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, also have three categories of suites:
Nordic Junior Suites (322 square feet).
Explorer Suites (548 square feet).
Owner’s Suites (1,238 square feet).
The typical Viking river ship has nine suites broken down into two categories — 275-square-foot Veranda Suites and 445-square-foot Explorers Suites.
Viking operates ships with a very easy-to-understand array of cabins, unlike some of its competitors.
Every passenger room on its ocean ships is a balcony cabin or a suite, something that is unusual in the cruise world, and these cabins break down into just a few subcategories. This makes the process of booking a room on a Viking vessel relatively simple compared to booking a room on many other ships.
Design-wise, Viking’s cabins are relatively upscale, with soothing, Scandinavian-influenced decor and lots of luxury touches like heated floors in bathrooms.
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