If you cruised before, you know why you’ll do it again. If you haven’t cruised before then you’ll be mesmerized by the color of the water as the waves crash against the bow of the ship. The water turns a beautiful aqua against the backdrop of the dark deep blue sea. Add to that the smell of the salt air as the boat gently rocks back and forth pushing through the waves. This is just part of the journey as your crew navigates you between carefully chosen destinations. Yes, the destinations are typically the highlight but don’t miss the subtle surprises of meeting new friends (Guests and Crew), the unique amenities of the ship, and the best night sleep one could ever have.
All these are part of the Viking experience. Their brand of River and Ocean Cruises are focused on enrichment and experiences. The Viking Experience is not your typical cruise. If it’s a Casino or the party scene you crave then there are plenty of other places you can find that. Knowing what you want is extremely important while booking with any cruise operator. Some are better for younger families while Viking is one of the few to have a minimum age of 18 onboard. For our most recent cruise, we sailed around one island, The Bermuda Escape cruise on board the Viking Orion.
Viking has rapidly become a leader for the seasoned traveler looking to travel the globe in River or Ocean cruising. This Itinerary didn’t disappoint. It really was an experience for all your senses. Bermuda has a lot to offer which is why it is one of the top destinations.
From the pink sand beaches, the historical significance of the port, and the amazing people, you will feel right at home as soon as you climb ashore. I like to dive, so I went to a local resort with a dive shop. We did a dive at two ship wrecks. One from the Civil War era and the other from World War 2. You would think that would have been the highlight of the day and it was incredible with the historical significance of the wrecks, the vibrant reef and marine life, but it wasn’t.
The real highlight occurred while heading back to the cruise ship. I was feeling adventurous and decided to take the public transportation. The local bus cost was less than $5.00 versus $30.00 for the taxi on the way to the dive shop. The island is very easy to navigate on public transportation so I felt comfortable going out on my own. I enjoy meeting the locals (not just your typical hospitality employees) at various points along the way to truly see what the island has to experience. While waiting for at the bus stop to take me back to Hamilton where the Viking Orion was docked, I met a local musician. Our conversation was focused on the Bermuda island life of course. We talked how they have faired in past hurricanes and how their concrete houses are extremely sturdy as we all knew Hurricane Larry was tracking towards the island. He shared how he would always lose his bananas during the storms because of the high winds while he waved at what seemed like almost every car that passed and they honked to say hello back! He also explained that he learned to strip the banana tree of it's large leaves to keep the soft fibrous plant from falling over in the high winds and rain. It was here where I got a sense of the people and community. They are proud, friendly and resilient. They are the reason why we were here. I regret not getting a photo op with him!
Everyone we met while on the ship was incredibly friendly as well. This was especially true of the crew of the Viking Orion. From the minute we got onboard, you could tell the staff is the star of the cruise. They take pride in spoiling you and want to ensure you have the best possible experience while onboard. We have traveled extensively and have never had a better customer experience. You’d be lucky to get two steps away from the buffet or the bar without one of the wait staff asking to take your food or drink to the table of your choosing. It doesn’t take long for them to remember your name or your favorite drink. We usually bond with one or two of them as we learn more about where they are from and their family.
The Executive Chef was often seen making himself available and was eager to talk with the guests and share stories of his experiences from home Austria to his 20+ years in the cruise industry. He shared how his staff of cooks work tirelessly to ensure ever guest has the best possible culinary experience while on board. If you are wondering about the cuisine while on board. Well, you won’t be disappointed here either. The dinner buffet has everything from seafood like king crab and sushi to ribeye steak and Cornish hen. With these menu items it’s a test of your will power (I failed miserably here) not to stop at the buffet as an appetizer before eating in one of the two specialty restaurants. Manfredi’s (Italian) and the Chef’s Table (rotating Mexican, Asian, and Californian cuisines) are some of the best restaurants we ate in on a cruise ship. The portions are designed to test the elasticity of your clothing as you push though each course on your way to one of the amazing desserts.
Turning the focus on the ship and it’s amenities, you’ll need to check out the Spa Suite. Of course, you can spoil yourself with a massage or a full body workover like most cruise lines but Viking goes above and beyond here as well focusing on the experience. Each guest can reserve time in the Therapy pool, hot tub, and sauna to work out the aches and pain of traveling. If you want to channel your inner Viking, then have a go at the Snow Grotto (ice room) or try the cold water bucket where you will most likely reluctantly pull a chain to tip ice cold water above your head. The gentleman’s or ladies changing rooms also have their own Sauna and Ice bath.
The ship also has a pool and hot tub in the center of the ship on Deck 7 with a retractable roof.
It’s next to the Winter garden where you can cool off after sitting in a lounger by the pool and also have afternoon tea.
There is a second pool and hot tub on Deck 7 on the back of the ship. This infinity pool really has the best view on the ship. Imagine sitting in this pool looking out over the ocean while watching the trail the ship leaves behind. Our favorite view on the on the ship is here at sunset is really amazing and picturesque.
The last subtle surprise I’ll mention here is the clean and elegant Scandinavian Décor of the ship. Viking has plenty here focused on enrichment. Just follow along in the Viking App as you walk the ship on a self-paced tour to learn about the carefully chosen art work on display. If art is not your thing, then explore the Viking exhibit (more like museum) where you can learn about the Viking Culture. They have Viking attire, artifacts and of course plenty of weapons displaying the Viking heritage.
There is still so much to share about cruising with Viking. The Cabins are spacious with plenty of storage. The lowest category is a Veranda (Balcony). Viking does not have any interiors or ocean view cabin.
I would say receiving honorable mention would be heated floors in the Cabin bathrooms, the explorer's lounge and the explorers globe with 3 different 3D movie options.
Whether we were at port or onboard the Viking Orion, this was overall our best cruise experiences. From the pink sands of the beach, the warm welcoming faces of the locals, the attentive staff, the cuisine, or the beautiful décor, the Viking Orion and Bermuda did not disappoint.
We have shared with you most but not all of the subtle surprises. To see the rest, you’ll need to experience it yourself. My hope is you enjoyed reading this as much as we enjoyed the cruise and it’s peaked your interest in Viking Ocean Cruises and Bermuda. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us at www.dock10travel.com.