All photos by Jason Leppert
When Viking Ocean Cruises launched its first Viking Star it already hit a home run, so its second – the sleek Viking Sea – repeats the winning formula as an effortlessly comfortable ship. It’s no wonder why the atrium is called The Viking Living Room because it sets the homey tone for the rest of the ship, wherein seating is cozy and a vast library of books is discovered throughout.
Viking is not concerned with crafting a ship full of elaborate onboard attractions. Instead it is pleasantly focused on accentuating the destination, and it does so in a number of ways, not the least of which are an abundance of floor-to-ceiling windows and a two-deck Explorers’ Lounge observation venue at the forward top of the ship. The observation lounge is hands down the best at sea, especially with its included bar and cafe.
Even though the ship doesn’t have rock climbing walls or surfing simulators, it does innovate with a true zero-edge infinity pool cantilevered high above the stern that has a fully transparent side for looking at the passing scenery even underwater. Other fun features are steam fire-pit illusions found in the spa and observation lounge, and for the curious, windows from the forward promenade deck let guests view the mooring deck and all of its mechanical equipment and activity.
Private accommodations shine onboard Viking Sea with spacious staterooms and suites that thankfully extend to the bathrooms and showers, staying true to Viking chairman and CEO Torstein Hagen’s promise of ones you can actually turn around in. Cabins are above average in size, and all feature verandas. The decor continues the modern Scandinavian motifs found elsewhere onboard with bright and cheery colors and surfaces.
Particularly helpful to travelers with lots of mobile devices and cameras is a plethora of USB charging ports. Penthouse veranda rooms have an impressive nine, including two on each side of the bed plus a lamp base with another five. Women will appreciate the bonus vanity mirror that hinges up from the desk, and leather accents and soft-close drawers are other premium touches. Perhaps the only faults are in the bathroom where a torso-level soap shelf is missing and the heated floor makes the space a little too toasty.
Activities are fewer and focus primarily on the destination as lectures speak to the region and the atrium’s dramatic tapestry-like jumbo screen displays local scenes. Even a Viking Heritage exhibit makes for a great museum space to enjoy, and a new smartphone audio guide culturally emphasizes the shipboard art. There are even interactive touch-screen tables that feature a new set of games to play beside the usual board varieties. It’s also worth noting that there is no casino onboard, as the ship is not intent on gathering extra revenue from guests.
Instead, Viking adds value around every corner with incl