PHOTO: Viking Ocean Cruises’ spacious entry-level stateroom shower on the Viking Sky. (photo by Jason Leppert)
Let’s call a spade a spade: Stateroom showers on cruise ships are often ridiculous.
The vast majority of them are tiny, and some are plainly infant-proportioned.
That is until Viking Ocean Cruises proved they could be far better and still not cost a fortune either.
There will always be an economy of scale as it relates to vessels of finite size. The more cabins a line can fit into a single ship, the more money it stands to make off it. From an economic standpoint, this makes sense.
However, ships are certainly big enough these days that companies can afford guests a few more inches of shower padding than ten-plus years ago. Still, some are more willing than others to offer any.
Others sadly continue to go cheap with flimsy shower curtains over rigid enclosures.
Viking, on the other hand, set out to be different. Chairman and CEO Torstein Hagen prides himself on showers, “you can actually turn around in.”
The Viking Star introduced entry-level accommodations with oversized showers that have been repeated on the Viking Sea and Viking Sky. They are simply marvelous: The square footprint ensures great mobility for spinning while the ample dimensions make it possible to extend your limbs while soaping up. Best of all, the premium glass enclosure stays out of the way without a curtain blowing in and clinging to you.
To be sure, other ships have offered larger showers before, but they have come in at higher price points.
Even luxury ships are often too concerned with including a bathtub in addition that they skimp on the size of the shower itself. Viking was smart to do away with tubs and dedicate the space to what matters most. Up from standard veranda staterooms, Viking showers only get bigger, and tubs are added in certain suites as well.
On my current cruise, while docked in Alborg, Denmark, the new Viking Sky was in port with Oceania Cruises’ Nautica. The latter was formerly one of eight Renaissance Cruises “R” vessels, which stand in starkest contrast with Viking’s. Regardless of the brand currently operating them—from Oceania to Princess Cruises—the “R” ships are known for having probably the smallest entry-level showers in the industry today.
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The postage stamp-sized slivers are so small they’re nearly impossible to bathe in without making contact with the walls and curtains. Leaving the curtain open is the only somewhat helpful solution.
Viking’s showers are heavenly by comparison.
The fact that the company made a point to include them on a non-mega-ship is evidence that it can be done even at a smaller quantity. Surely, much bigger ships could free up some extra space accordingly.
It’s almost the same argument that is being made in the airline industry for greater seat pitch. Now that the proof of concept is out there, it’s only a matter of whether or not airlines, (or, in this case, cruise lines), are willing to extend comfort to passengers in exchange for slightly smaller profits.
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I applaud Viking Ocean Cruises for taking a stand on behalf of the guest by setting a new standard. It’s one I believe should be upheld industry-wide. There’s no reason any new cruise ship from any line should launch with a shower smaller than what the Star, Sea and Sky have presented.
If mega-ships are going to be the mainstream name of the game, it’s time to say—once and for all—down with micro-showers.
In the meantime, thank you Viking!
This post first appeared on TravelPulse.