I recently set sail on a Rhine River Cruise with Viking Cruises, and let me tell you, it was quite the adventure. For many of us, the idea of Viking river cruises is completely unknown territory and you just have no idea of what to expect. So, as someone who has just ticked this off their bucket list and went on a few Viking Ocean Cruises, I’m here to give you the scoop.

I’m going to share a candid review of my journey aboard a Viking ship. Like many first-timers, I had my share of highs and lows during the trip. The big question I aim to answer today is one that’s probably crossed your mind: “Are Viking Cruises worth it?” Let’s dive in and find out!

Are Viking Cruises Worth It? Answered

viking cruise line ship in europe
Image source: vikingcruises.com

The short answer is yes, while no cruise is perfect Viking Cruise offers much more than other major cruise lines. Let me break down five solid reasons why choosing Viking Cruises can be a smart decision:

  • Inclusivity and pricing: Viking Ocean Cruises hit the mark with their all-inclusive pricing. You pay once, and a lot gets covered – from meals and drinks to shore excursions and Wi-Fi. No constant wallet-digging is required. Sure, for extras like premium drinks or spa treatments, you’ll pay more, but their clear-cut pricing policy is a big relief, especially for those new to cruising.
  • Destination focus and enrichment: Viking isn’t just about sailing from point A to B. They deeply immerse you in each destination. The crowds? Less of an issue. The onboard talks about local history, culture, and architecture add layers to your experience, and you can even catch up on these sessions in your room. It’s learning and leisure combined.
  • Practicality and aesthetics of ships: Here’s where Viking truly shines. Their ships are a blend of stylish Scandinavian design and practical comfort. Picture relaxing in a designer chair, USB port within reach, surrounded by a cozy ambiance. The cabins? Spacious, feature-rich, and perfect for unwinding after a day of exploration. It’s the sort of thoughtfulness that wins over both cruise newbies and veterans. Moreover, for young adults seeking a mix of relaxation and sophistication, Viking’s modern amenities and tranquil atmosphere provide an ideal setting for a memorable journey.
  • Simplified choices and options: Viking streamlines your cruise experience. No casinos or under-18s to navigate around. This approach makes Viking particularly appealing to first-time cruisers who prefer a more serene and adult-focused environment. Daytime activities are engaging but not overwhelming, and evenings are relaxed with a few select entertainment spots. It’s all about quality over quantity. Plus, their balcony cabins take the guesswork out of room selection.
  • Diverse and exceptional dining: Dining on a Viking cruise is far from mundane. The variety caters to all palates, from adventurous foodies to those with specific dietary needs. Restaurants like Manfredi’s rival top Italian eateries ashore, and their buffet with fresh sushi and seafood nightly is a standout. It’s an inclusive, high-quality dining experience that adds a delicious dimension to your cruise.

Things I Liked About Viking Cruises

Jumping right into the heart of my Viking Cruises experience, the seamless travel logistics were the first standout feature. Viking’s arrangement of airport transfers for those who booked their airfare with them was a major convenience. It’s a complete service that includes helpful assistance and efficient luggage handling from the moment you land.

Viking Polaris Cruise Ship by Cruise Fever
Image source: CruiseFever.net

They have a dedicated team ready to tackle any travel issues, particularly flight-related challenges, which is a real lifesaver when you’re far from home. This sense of security and support is carried through every aspect of the journey.

Moreover, Viking’s attention to detail is impressive, especially when it comes to hydration. They ensure you’re well supplied with complimentary drinking water throughout your trip – from a welcoming bottle at the airport pickup to a constant in-room supply and even during excursions.

A Viking River Cruise boat itself is a marvel. Its modern, clean, Scandinavian design, coupled with floor-to-ceiling windows in shared spaces, offers stunning views of the passing scenery. This design enhances and enriches the overall cruising experience.

Another thing to note was the high-quality service was undeniable. The staff greeted me with warm welcomes and offered genuine assistance throughout the journey, rivaling the attentiveness typically seen in the food and wine industry.

Meal times were a delight, thanks to the extensive selection on the menu, which featured a variety of regional dishes. The availability of coffee stations, cappuccino machines, and a constant supply of tea and cookies throughout the day added a homely touch to the cruise.

For those who appreciate a good drink, the option of free premium drinks with the Silver Spirits package during specific hours was a nice perk. This package eliminated the need for additional expenses on beverages, allowing me to enjoy a range of drinks without worrying about the cost while on the Viking Cruise.

viking cruise ship by the mountain glaciers
Image source: vikingcruises.com

Viking’s daily shore excursions provided comprehensive tours of each region we visited, eliminating the need for extensive pre-trip research and planning. This feature was particularly appealing as it allowed me to fully immerse myself in the experience without the usual stress of trip planning and the walking tour was well put together.

Onboard, the small library and workspace available on the upper level were perfect for those seeking quiet time or needing to catch up on work. It was a peaceful escape from the usual hustle and bustle, offering a serene environment for relaxation or productivity.

As someone who enjoys meeting new people, I found the chance to connect with fellow travelers particularly beneficial. The majority of travelers were friendly and had several River Cruises of their own under their belts, which contributed to a pleasant social environment onboard.

Lastly, the cost-effectiveness of Viking Cruises, especially with their specials and promotions like free airfare, was a pleasant surprise. It turned out to be more economical compared to organizing a trip independently. Traveling with a companion further enhanced the cost advantages, making the entire experience budget-friendly and enjoyable.

Things I Didn’t Like About Viking Cruises

While my experience with Viking Cruises had many highlights, some aspects didn’t quite hit the mark for me.

One noticeable downside was the absence of a gym onboard. For someone who likes to stay active, finding ways to work out, especially after long periods of inactivity during travel, was a challenge. The upper deck does offer open-air seating and a walking track, but this is heavily weather-dependent, and not ideal for all seasons.

The excursion experience was a mixed bag. Viking uses large motorcoaches for tours, and the conspicuous group setup made it hard to blend in and observe places discreetly. This increased visibility as a tourist sometimes attracted unwanted attention from vendors or pickpockets, disrupting the local experience and occasionally annoying locals.

Another limitation was the structured nature of the excursions. The itineraries, while well-organized, offered limited flexibility to explore places in depth or spend extended time at particular attractions. This meant often sacrificing personal exploration for the convenience of pre-planned activities.

viking cruise ship stateroom
Image source: vikingcruises.com

For introverted individuals, the social aspect of the cruise might be overwhelming. There are numerous social obligations, from meals and safety presentations to cultural talks and other events. However, for those over their 40s traveling solo, there are often designated solo traveler meetups and activities, providing a comfortable space to connect with others who share similar interests. The small size of the boat also means limited anonymity; interaction with fellow passengers is inevitable, although generally respectful of personal space.

As a solo traveler, I also felt the pinch of increased expenses due to the added solo supplement cost. Additionally, the budget rooms, designed for pairs, were somewhat cramped. Maneuvering around twin beds with limited floor space, especially when luggage was out, required some acrobatics.

The onboard internet service was another pain point. It was inconsistent and unreliable, posing challenges for work-related tasks and social connectivity. Despite attempts to address these issues, the service remained spotty throughout the cruise.

Lastly, staying on a Viking River Cruise seemed to limit immersion in local cultures. The environment onboard felt more like typical American culture, unlike the authentic experience you might get staying in a local hotel. Also, the lack of age group diversity was noticeable, with a predominance of older passengers. However, for those over their 50s traveling solo, this environment can offer a comfortable and familiar setting, making it easier to socialize and engage with fellow passengers of a similar age group.

Viking Cruise Reviews

There are several reviews for Viking’s Ocean Ships and Viking River Cruises, an interesting statistic on popular cruise review sites shows Viking’s Cruises have garnered an impressive average rating of 4.6 out of 5. This figure speaks volumes about the quality of service and experience provided by Viking Cruises. However, to get a more nuanced understanding, it’s important to delve into individual reviews and see what actual passengers have to say.

Review of Viking Atla

Recently, I came across a review by Dr Philip, a seasoned cruiser in his 60s, who shared his insights on a European River Cruise aboard the Viking Atla, focusing on Vienna and Budapest. His account provides a candid perspective on the voyage.

Dr Philip embarked on the cruise with high expectations, particularly excited about the destinations. He mentioned that while the cities were delightful, he felt that renting a car and driving there might have been more cost-effective and flexible. The Viking Atla, in his view, was akin to a “floating hotel” with basic amenities like a restaurant and lounge, but lacking in variety and excitement. The entertainment, which included music trivia and a strudel-making demonstration, seemed limited, particularly after the onboard piano player fell ill and wasn’t replaced.

viking cruise ship on the ocean by grassy mountains
Image source: businessinsider.com

What stood out in his review was the praise for the staff. He described them as “amazing,” highlighting their attentiveness and efficiency in service. However, he noted a certain hesitation in the captain’s decisions, especially when navigating challenging sections of the Danube River.

Dr Philip also gave a straightforward assessment of his cabin. The bathroom felt cramped, and he suggested the need for US-style outlets on both sides of the bed for convenience. On the positive side, he found the balcony enjoyable and the bed extremely comfortable.

Viking Hlin River Cruise Review

Another review from ccarbone22, a cruiser in his 40s with considerable cruise experience, is about his trip on the Viking Hlin for a European River Cruise. His experience, centered around visiting the Christmas markets in Europe, was a mix of delight and disappointment.

The group of forty-something friends embarked on this journey with Viking, hoping for a relaxing and enjoyable experience. The ship itself, according to ccarbone22, was clean, bright, and efficiently designed. Their French balcony stateroom, though small, was comfortable, and the staff were largely friendly and accommodating. However, the trip took several unexpected turns.

The food quality was a significant downside. Having been on numerous cruises, ccarbone22 had certain expectations but found the food on Viking Hlin to be subpar and poorly prepared. Even on their other ship, the Tialfi, the food was just okay. The only exception was the German Night food, which they enjoyed.

viking cruise ship with people eating on the deck
Image source: cruiseweb.com

The trip was marked by a series of misadventures. Their ship hit a sandbar, causing an abrupt stop and a slight delay. In Koblenz, they faced a halt due to river traffic, leading to changes in their itinerary. They missed visiting Mannheim and had to make do with altered plans in Rudesheim, Speyer, and Strasbourg. The group found themselves often caught in logistical snags, like incorrect opening times for markets and longer-than-expected bus rides. They also felt a lack of clear communication with Vikings, especially during the change of ships and itinerary rearrangements.

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect for ccarbone22 and his group was Viking’s response to these disruptions. There was a lack of tangible acknowledgment or compensation for the inconveniences faced, leading to disappointment. The guided tours provided were just okay, with many focusing on historical churches and war events, but lacking depth or intrigue.

Despite the chaos, ccarbone22 enjoyed the Christmas markets, with Cologne’s elf market being a personal favorite. However, he concludes that he wouldn’t choose Viking for future cruises, nor is he likely to embark on another river cruise. The trip, though an adventure, fell short of his expectations for the price paid.


While no cruise is perfect, Viking offers a well-rounded, high-quality experience that stands out among major cruise lines. It’s the attention to detail, and well-rounded shore excursion planning, combined with thoughtful inclusions and services, that makes Viking a worthy choice for your next cruising adventure.


Is Viking Cruises good?

Viking Cruises stands out in the cruise line industry, known for its excellent ships, superb dining options, and wonderful crew. Guest Services, however, might sometimes fall short of expectations. These cruises, offering a mix of ocean and river journeys, consistently receive praise for their unique itineraries and exceptional service, making them a popular choice among discerning travelers.

Is Viking considered a luxury cruise?

Indeed, Viking is recognized as a luxury brand within the cruising industry. Their ocean cruise ships and European river cruises epitomize elegance and exclusivity. With features like complimentary shore excursions and sophisticated dining rooms, Viking’s luxury cruises offer an unparalleled experience that caters to those seeking a refined and upscale cruise vacation.

Are Viking cruises too expensive?

Viking Ocean Cruises, renowned for its luxury offerings, does come with a higher price tag compared to most cruise lines. While you can expect to pay several thousand dollars, the experience includes exclusive amenities like the Silver Spirits beverage package and unique shore excursions. This cost, albeit higher than the typical $500-600 rates of other cruise companies, reflects the premium experience Viking offers.