May 5, 2016
Viking Sea, the newest ocean-going ship from Viking Cruises, debuted in April 2016 and will be christened today in Greenwich by godmother Karine Hagen on Thursday. Cruise Critic is onboard now, checking out the features of the 930-passenger ship, the second of what will be six nearly identical ocean ships from Viking.
While Viking still is a fairly new entrant into the ocean cruising game, the company has found a way to add some spectacularly subtle surprises to its sailings. Here are our favorites from our Viking Sea cruise so far.
Details Make the Difference
We brought along a book to read, using an airline receipt for a bookmark. After returning from an excursion, we discovered our cabin attendant had added a Viking-branded bookmark to it, as it sat on our nightstand. She didn't replace the receipt, in case it was something important (it wasn't), but simply added it in case we'd like to use it (we did). This is indicative of the level of service you can expect onboard Viking from your cabin steward. We also had a half-full glass of water we left on a table; when we returned, our steward had covered it with a paper lid so we could continue to drink it. Service is intuitive and spectacular.
Tea and a Pedicure
When you get a spa treatment, you want to feel a bit pampered. Usually, we're content with some cucumber water or a piece of fruit. During our pedicure on Viking Sea, we asked for tea, thinking of the iced tea we saw at the front of the spa. Instead, a waiter brought us a full tea setting, complete with pot, loose-leaf English breakfast tea, milk, sugar and honey. It was a wonderful treat, and it made the experience feel more indulgent and special.
Have Drinks, Will Carry
Meeting for drinks before dinner happens on every cruise. And often, you'll end up carrying your half-full drink to the dining room to enjoy with your meal. On Viking Sea, if you reach the dining room with a drink in your hand, your waiter will take it and carry it on a tray to the table for you. If you're prone to spills (guilty!), you have to appreciate that you won't carry a sloshing drink across a dining room on a rocking cruise ship.
Passengers on Viking Sea can watch movies poolside at night, a fairly common activity on ocean-going vessels. But what sets the experience apart on Viking Sea is the addition of Bose headphones, which tune out the noise of the ocean and the ship so you can hear the movie -- and others who aren't watching don't have to hear it. Passengers on our sailing snuggled under blankets on padded loungers to watch "The Intern". It gets a little chilly at night, so the ship closed the magradome roof.
Heated Bathroom Floors
This isn't as big a surprise if you have sailed any of Viking's Longships on European rivers, but all bathrooms on Viking Sea have heated floors. You might not notice it when you're taking a shower, but if you head to the bathroom in the middle of the night, you'll feel it and love it. If you keep your bathroom door closed, the floors will keep the whole room warm. Another awesome feature: Bathrooms have heated mirrors. That means, you can take a hot, steamy shower without the mirrors fogging up before you shave or apply makeup.
--By Colleen McDaniel, Managing Editor