PHOTO: Second-story loft of the Explorers’ Lounge on Viking Ocean Cruises’ Viking Sky. (photo by Jason Leppert)
Not that there’s anything wrong cruising with children, but the absence of kids on Viking Ocean Cruises is sure pleasant nonetheless.
Ordinarily, I’d be one of the first to defend traveling as a family; my parents began taking me on cruises before I was two years old. However, as an adult, I sure do enjoy an escape from screaming youngsters.
My wife and I do not have any children of our own, which frees us up to take more trips. (Perhaps the irony is we are two of the biggest kids at heart you’ll ever find.)
Other cruise lines may have their selective adults-only retreats, but Viking’s entire ship is exclusive to those of age. (Technically, minors are not outright prohibited onboard, but they are not encouraged either.)
Viking Cruises’ Terms & Conditions read, “Due to the nature of our cruise and travel itineraries, the Carrier does not maintain facilities or services for children aboard cruise vessels or otherwise during the trip. On all cruises and cruise journeys, minors under the age of 18 must be accompanied and share a stateroom with a parent, legal guardian or other responsible adult over the age of 21. We reserve the right to limit the number of minors under the age of 18 years on board and on land excursions booked through us.”
Viking touts what it is not, saying on its website, “You will not find casinos, kids, umbrella drinks or needless distractions.”
I have never once seen a child onboard five sailings—in large part because staterooms do not accommodate thirds.
READ MORE: Less is Truly More on Viking Ocean Cruises
Per its policy, a couple traveling with a minor would have to split between two cabins with a guardian and a child in one of them. In other words, you’d have to really want to travel with Viking as a young family to make it work, pending approval at that.
For the adults left onboard, the child-free environment is sublime. Many of us have likely flown plenty of hours on a plane with aforementioned bawling kids in close proximity to get onboard.
The peace and quiet is a mighty welcome change of pace.
As Viking is all about the destination, learning and reflection, children really would be a distraction on its ships. It’s not an environment they would find particularly fun anyway. There are neither costumed characters nor waterslides, for instance.
That leaves solitude to those who wish it or social interactions for like-minded discoverers to bond on the Viking Star, Viking Sea and Viking Sky (with many more sister-ships to come).
Even the double-decker Explorers’ Lounge observation venue is a perfect blend of the two cruising styles. The first floor is more open and ideal for gatherings, while the second-story loft is a cozier escape.
Free to find new knowledge, adults enjoy a collection of ship-wide volumes spread out among other wonderfully curated artifacts, knick-knacks and professional pieces of art—never fearfully in reach of children. A great mobile app is available to download and guides guests among the artwork.
All activities are simply more quiet and refined. For example, restaurants are never noisy, nor are there crayon marks in the menus. Plus, there are never kids running up and down the halls at all hours of the days.
While there is a time and a place for children—and certainly family-friendly cruise travel should be fostered in other segments—Viking Ocean Cruises offers an oasis for those seeking a refreshing alternative.
This post first appeared on TravelPulse.