I recently returned from cruising on the almost brand new Viking Sea sailing out of San Juan Puerto Rico. It was so impressive the way that Viking took all of the wonderful attributes of river cruising and copied them onto their ocean cruises. Plus since the ship carries just over 900 passengers, is considered a small ship which allows them to visit ports not available to the larger ships. Here we were docked right in the heart of the city in Willemstad, Curacao
Like river cruising, there are many inclusions like a shore excursion included in every port, beer/wine with lunch and dinner, specialty coffees, teas & bottled water and of course the biggest perk for me as I was still working, was the free WiFi. Most people that I talked to onboard said it was so nice to have all the inclusions and not to be nickle & dimed to death which tends to happen on many mainstream cruise lines. Also included are two specialty restaurants, one is The Chef’s Table which is a multi-course tasting dinner paired with select wines and the other is Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant serving freshly prepared pastas and antipasto accompanied by fresh seafood or special of the day. Not sure which one was my favorite as they both had amazing food.
One difference from their river cruises (which still offer cabins on lower decks that only have a window) is that all the cabins on the Viking Sea have a spacious private balcony. Another great option for those who love to eat outdoors (which includes me) is the restaurant at the back of the ship near the pool where you can enjoy breakfast or lunch on the patio.
Like river cruising, the Viking Ocean itineraries tend to be city/port intensive which allow you to really get immersed in the destinations visited. In fact, many of the passengers had taken a river cruise first and then decided to try out their Ocean cruises and were very impressed. So whichever one you choose to try first, you’ll be pleased with either!
For more information, see VIKING CRUISES