The Three Types Of Viking Cruise Ships
When it comes to luxury cruising, Viking Cruise Line has established itself as a leader in the industry. Expanding enormously in recent years with the addition of dozens of new river and ocean ships, Viking offers travellers unforgettable experiences on the world’s rivers and oceans. So what are the types of Viking cruise ships?
Viking is unusual among major cruise lines for the reason that they operate both ocean and river ships. With additions of new river and ocean ships in recent years, there are nearly 90 ships in its fleet. Initially dominating the market for river cruises (as this was the sole focus for the first 18 years in business), they are now becoming a competitive option for Ocean cruising too.
1. Viking River Ships
Being core to the brand, Viking river ships are what put them on the map. With over 80 river ships in its fleet, the majority of them have the same basic design. Known as Longships, they are a reference to the historic vessels used by Vikings in the middle ages.
Specifically designed to fit into the river locks, the Longships broke new ground in river ship design when they were unveiled in 2012. They have a configuration that includes some of the largest suites ever for river ships in Europe. The innovative cabin layout offsets the main corridors meaning there are a significant number of cabins with balconies. As the corridors don’t run down the middle of the ship, it creates a wider shade with space for balconies and a narrower side with cabins turned sideways to also create room for verandas.
The ships also have eight more cabins than similarly sized ships operated by competitors, due to the squared-off bow. Having quieter engines also allows for more cabins at the rear. These innovations however didn’t come without a cost. A large amount of groundbreaking engineering went into redesigning the bow areas of the ships, in particular, to enable extra cabins while still leaving room for needed machinery.
By having more cabins on offer, Viking are able to offer lower prices than their competitors, while still bringing in a similar amount of revenue. This has contributed greatly to the company’s rapid growth.
Following a similar river ship layout, Viking Longships have one main restaurant where most meals are served, along with one main interior lounge with a bar. A secondary casual dining area is available at the front of each vessel that has indoor and outdoor seating, known as the Aquavit Terrace.
While most Viking river ships are Longships, there are a few exceptions in the fleet. They operate several smaller, purpose-built vessels on the Nile River in Egypt, while they recently began sailing on the Mississippi River with a new ship specifically designed for the river and its tributaries.
2. Viking Ocean Ships
Since 2015, Viking has been rolling out a number of ocean ships, ones that are slowly beginning to dominate the world of higher-end ocean cruising. At the end of 2022, Viking will have nine ships on the ocean, each with a capacity for 930 passengers. Three more ships are being released in 2023, 2024 and 2025 from Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri. Once built, Viking’s ocean fleet will be bigger than Oceania Azamara, Seabourn and Silversea Cruises combined.
These ships are upscale with touches of luxury such as heated floors in cabin bathrooms to high quality bedding. Although Viking doesn’t market itself as a luxury cruising line, each ship is stylish and showcases Scandinavian-influenced design. They offer a variety of cabin sizes from 270 square feet to two-room suites ranging from 757 square feet to 1,448 square feet, with many of the bigger cabins offering views from wrap-around private balconies.
The centerpiece of the ship’s interior space is the three-deck-high atrium filled with comfortable seating areas. This living room feel also offers a bar and guest relations desk. At the top of the ships, you’ll find two-deck-high, glass walled lounges that offer stunning views over the bow. Other feature spaces include a fitness center and a spa that has a thermal suit area that is open to all passengers at no extra charge. This is not a common addition on cruise ships!
Viking ocean ships offer a variety of restaurants to choose from on board. Each ship includes Italian eatery Manfredi’s and The Chef’s Table. On the top of the deck is the main pool area, which features a glass magrodome that can close during bad weather. This main pool area on each of the ships is situated next to a glass topped lounge with comfortable seating called the Wintergarden, which is home to afternoon tea. A second pool area is located at the back of each ship. A great feature of these are that they are infinity pools.
There are small differences that you will find on each of the Viking ships. Two of the most recent ships have an additional lounge at their fronts, while some of the later ships in the series have a larger fitness center and small hair salons. Overall, there are very small differences between them, showing the consistency across the product.
3. Viking Expedition Ships
Viking Expeditions ships take travelers on immersive journeys to remote and unique destinations, including the polar regions. These purpose-built vessels offer state-of-the-art technology, ensuring safety, comfort, and a deep connection with nature.
Designed to accommodate 378 passengers, the Viking expedition ships are specifically designed to take travellers off the beaten path. They explore remote regions and offer Antarctica cruises and Arctic cruises. Two ships operate as expedition ships, the Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, both which debuted in 2022.
Each of these ships have landing craft to bring people ashore along with different options for exploring such as kayaks and submarines. The latest trend is having submarines for exploring, with upscale cruise brands such as the Scenic Eclipse, adding them to their expedition cruise to Antarctica.
A great feature of these ships is the expedition teams that are onboard. This includes biologists, botanists, geologists, glaciologists and ornithologists who lecture regularly throughout the cruise.
A notable upgrade and also a first for a polar expedition cruise ship, is The Hangar. This is an enclosed marina that allows passengers to jump on a 12 seat excursion craft while still in the protected interior of the Viking ship. Additional features include floor to ceiling glass walls in every cabin, elegant Scandinavian designs and Viking’s two signature restaurants, Manfredi’s Italian and The Chef’s Table.
With Viking operating more cruise vessels than any other major cruise company, the consistency across their ocean cruise and river cruise ships is apparent. The majority of ships have identical designs and offer a luxurious cruising experience no matter if you’re cruising on a European river cruise or on an Antarctica cruise.