Viking Star's Infinity Pool
Viking Star's Infinity Pool / Viking Ocean Cruises
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Viking Star in Istanbul
Viking Star in Istanbul / Viking Ocean Cruises
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Manfredi's Italian Restaurant, Viking Star
Manfredi's Italian Restaurant, Viking Star / Viking Ocean Cruises
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Viking Star's Spa
Viking Star's Spa / Viking Ocean Cruises
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Viking Star's Snow Grotto
Viking Star's Snow Grotto / Viking Ocean Cruises
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Viking Star's Deluxe Veranda Stateroom
Viking Star's Deluxe Veranda Stateroom / Viking Ocean Cruises
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Viking Ocean Cruises

Our Review
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger

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 930-guest, adults-only ships — which began with Viking Star, Viking Sea, and Viking Sky, are virtually identical, and now number 10 — are more all-inclusive than many of their premium and luxury cruise competitors. Wi-Fi, wine and beer with lunch and dinner, specialty restaurants, and one shore excursion in each port are all 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. Viking has also expanded its destinations beyond Europe in recent years to include North America, the Caribbean & Central America, South America, Asia, Australia & New Zealand. The line now offers world cruises as well.

For our expert opinion on Viking Jupiter, Viking Mars, Viking Neptune, Viking Orion, Viking Saturn, and Viking Venus, read our reviews for Viking Star, Viking Sky, and Viking Sea. A 10th ocean ship, Viking Vela, will launch in early 2024. This new ship is almost identical to her siblings; the main change is that this vessel is slightly larger, accommodating 998 guests. 

In early 2022, Viking also entered the fast-growing expedition cruise market with Viking Octantis, a 378-guest Polar Class 6-rated ship designed to cruise the Arctic, Antarctica, and other remote regions, as well as the Great Lakes. A second identical expedition vessel, Viking Polaris, was launched later that year. These two ships feature most of the same amenities as Viking’s Star-Class ocean ships, just on a smaller scale, as well as expedition equipment that includes Zodiacs, high-speed Special Operations Boats, and a pair of “Yellow Submarine” submersibles. 

What We Love

Manfredi’s: This Italian restaurant at sea blows most of its 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 French meal to the Asian 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 is 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.

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 whom travel 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 guests under the age of 18 on any sailings, and even if they did, there aren't any kids clubs or other facilities onboard.

The Included Tours are Typically Perfunctory: Viking offers a complimentary tour in every port, and most of these are somewhat basic panoramic bus tours or guided walking tours lasting two to three hours. The upside? You can often do the free tour in the morning and then eat lunch and head out on a special-interest tour, perhaps a wine tasting or visit to a cultural site, in the afternoon.

Sherri Eisenberg
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger