Alaska has been on our bucket list for years, and when Viking announced they would be sailing to Alaska we jumped at the opportunity, having experienced a Viking River Cruise in 2014, the Romantic Danube. The Viking Orion had not yet been completed when we made our reservations, so watching her development was exciting. Viking truly has transported the finest of their river cruise ships into their ocean cruise ships, and it felt like coming home when we boarded at Seward. One aspect of the cruise that was attractive to us was the specific itinerary that included more of Alaska than just the fabled Inside Passage. We did the pre-cruise extension in Anchorage, where Viking picked us up at the Anchorage airport and transported us to the Anchorage Hilton for 2 nights, then onward from Anchorage to Seward to join the ship. The weather was not always cooperative and in Seward it was raining and chilly outside, but warm and welcoming onboard. Embarkation was smooth and fast, and the primary downside was the distance we had to walk from the point where we cleared security to the ship itself mostly in the rain. From then on the weather was either cloudy and cool or clouds and sun. Valdez was beautiful, sunny and clear; overcast at Hubbard Glacier and Icy Strait Point and Skagway, sunny and warm at Juneau, mostly sunny at Sitka, cloudy at Ketchikan, and gloriously sunny on arrival at Vancouver. Of the many attributes offered by Viking, having all outside cabins with balconies was a definite plus, the small size was wonderful with just 930 passengers, and perhaps the one consistent comment we heard was how thankful our shipmates were that there were no children (us included). Folks, this is not a party ship, yet it packs in more entertainment options than are possible to sample in the 11 days we had available. We would definitely cruise again with Viking Ocean and River Cruises.
Our cabin was located just steps from the forward elevators and on the port or left side of the ship. The cabin is very accurately described and illustrated on Viking's website and in their literature, and we found it to be roomy, comfortable and beyond our expectations. The bathroom was well-designed and spacious for a cruise ship, including double sinks and a heated floor, with a shower that included a hand-held showerhead. The bedroom area had a full king size bed and two nightstands, and plenty of room beneath for storage of our bags. The desk area opposite the bed contained the wet bar, additional drawer storage, and a hidden makeup mirror. The adjacent closets provided plenty of space for hanging garments, with drawers in 3 different locations for more storage. In the seating area there were 2 club chairs and a loveseat facing a coffee table. Outside on the balcony was a large table and 2 lounge chairs that would have seen more use had the weather been a bit more sunny. Our cabin was located a very short distance from the Wintergarden, the pool with pool grill and bar, and the World Cafe (buffet), all on Deck 7. The one downside was that the Restaurant on Deck 2 was at the opposite end of the ship, but Viking very thoughtfully provides a wide array of seating along the way for those who might not be able to make the walk without a stop or two. And, room service was available 24 x 7. We loved our cabin and would not hesitate to choose a similar cabin on future cruises.
This was an included tour. Exhibits were well-done, and the variety of sea life was enjoyable to watch.View All 28 SeaLife Center Reviews
This was an included tour. The show itself was very entertaining. Logistically it would have been very helpful to know in advance that getting to the show would involve walking down a muddy gravel path for some distance, making it a real challenge for anyone with mobility issues.View All 29 Tribal Dance Show Reviews
In the afternoon we then took the scenic bus tour up to White Pass on the highway, giving us the same basic view as the train but from the opposite side of the valley. This was the free included tour, and we did stop at the White Pass summit where there were restrooms available, but again for a good part of the trip we were enveloped in fog.View All 117 Scenic Drive Reviews
We took the vintage railway paid tour first, which was fun and interesting, and would have been so much more enjoyable had we not been in basically a fog bank for much of the trip up and back. There are no stops, so you ride up, make a loop, and ride back down. The cars really are vintage, but there is a bathroom on each car.View All 1212 White Pass Scenic Railway Reviews
This was the included tour. Bus picked us up on the dock and drove us first to Mendenhall Glacier visitor center on a beautiful sunny warm day, where we had ample time to explore what the visitor center had to offer, which included splendid views of the glacier, lake and waterfall. We rejoined the bus and drove to the Brotherhood Bridge which spans the river and offers a unique and beautiful view of the glacier. On our way back to the ship we stopped at the fish hatchery for an informative learning experience about fish management.View All 971 Mendenhall Glacier Reviews
This was an included tour. The ship docks a few miles from the center of Sitka so a bus met the ship and transported us into town for a brief tour and stop at the historical park and museum. We had ample time to view a film about Sitka's Russian past, inspect the many totem poles, and explore some of the park before returning through the very compact downtown and onward to the ship.View All 37 City Tour Reviews
This was the included tour. Our bus met us at the dock, and after a brief tour through downtown Ketchikan took us out to Potlatch Park. The parking area was difficult for our driver to maneuver into, and was a gravel and muddy area and it was spitting rain off and on. Our guide walked us through the wooded trails out to the totems and other structures and he was knowledgeable and entertaining. While a worthwhile tour, it was a bit more of a hike than many of us were anticipating.View All 33 Potlatch Park Reviews