When it comes to its cruise ships, Viking has a philosophy of continuity. The company wants you to know you're on a Viking ship, whether it's on Europe's rivers, an expedition journey or its ocean ships. All of Viking's ships look similar on the inside, with modern, Scandinavian design. But more than that, it's the line's approach to service (friendly yet professional), shore excursions (insightful and information packed) or food (simple and delicious, with a nod to the line's Norwegian heritage and the place you're sailing). With the launch of Viking Osiris, the line is able to continue that tradition in Egypt, where the ship sails along the famous Nile River.
Viking Osiris is a revelation for the Nile River, a destination where cruisers usually sail on an Egyptian ship that is typically not built or staffed by the cruise line directly, which can result in varying levels of quality and service. Osiris, which was built from the ground up by Viking in partnership with Egyptian companies, is a fully Viking ship built for passengers who want to see the Nile and learn about Egypt from the comfort of perhaps the most modern and luxurious ship in the region.
The ship is exceptionally appointed, with large cabins, nooks aplenty for escaping and viewing areas for watching life unfold on the Nile. Shore excursions are fascinating, though a little exhausting, and crew -- especially the onboard program directors -- are 100% passenger focused.
Those seeking a more traditional ship -- a romanticized journey down the Nile like you might read about in an Agatha Christie novel -- might find Viking Osiris a bit too modern, too slick. For everyone else, though, Viking Osiris offers guests an opportunity to dive into Egypt's history and culture from a beautifully appointed ship.
The Viking Osiris deck plan offers five passenger levels, arranged around a beautiful midsection filled with floor-to-ceiling windows and skylights that span three full decks. The result is the ship always feels light and bright.
The ship's main dining room, The Restaurant, is located on Deck 3, offering three meals a day. Directly above it is Aquavit Terrace, a Viking staple that features an indoor/outdoor space offering a more casual approach to dining. Just off Aquavit Terrace is a small area for sunning and the ship's small infinity-style pool.
The Lounge, where guests gather for lectures and drinks, is also located on Deck 4, across from the Aquavit Terrace. Because of the go-go-go schedule during the day, The Lounge is busier at night.
Viking Osiris offers a long, lovely Sun Deck on Deck 5. Canopies offer shade from the blistering Egyptian sun, and this is a great place for viewing during sailing time. (After the sun sets, bugs flock to the lights and drive guests indoors.)
We adore the little spaces Viking has created for guests to escape, especially the small window-side seating area in the Deck 3 Atrium.
Reception, complete with a coffee and cookie station, is located on Deck 2.
Viking Osiris cabins span Decks 1 through 3 and overall are spacious and offer lots of space, no matter the category. These cabins are modern through and through, and no detail was missed, from heated bathroom floors to multiple USB ports and outlets for charging power.
A full quarter of the staterooms are true two-room suites, including two massive Explorer Suites. These cabins are among the best-appointed on the Nile, with comfortable living areas and bedrooms, and decor that feels more like a beautiful home than a hotel or cruise ships.
There truly are no cabins to avoid on Viking Osiris, as there is a nice range for everyone. If you're an exceptionally light sleeper, avoid cabins on Deck 3 (where all the suites are located), as they sit right below The Lounge, so some footsteps or furniture movement noise is inevitable, depending on the time of day. On our cruise, we ran a "white noise" app on our phone that effectively drowned out any external noise.
Food on Viking Osiris offers an international menu designed to appeal to a mostly American audience. Overall, we were impressed with the quality, though the selection at times felt a little limited.
The ship shines when it comes to Egyptian dishes, and those who want to explore new dishes will be rewarded with flavorful options that you will remember for ages.
Look out for Egyptian Night, when dinner is served family style and consists of traditional dishes from the region. This was a hit for our cruise, and we loved talking over the dishes and trying new things, like an incredibly tasty date tart.
The temptation, because of the heat, is to pack shorts and tank tops, but you'll be more comfortable -- and will avoid sunburn -- by packing in layers and considering linens and breathable fabrics. A sunhat or scarf is a must.
Women in Egypt often wear head scarves or abayas, and dress overall is modest. While visiting women can -- and do -- wear shorts or shorter dresses, you might feel out of place by doing so. Consider garments with longer sleeves that can be rolled up, or breezy layers and scarves to cover shoulders and lower necklines, especially for visits to religious sites.
Onboard, the dress code is in line with what you might wear to a resort. Men tend to wear those same linen pants with dressier shirts, and women wear dresses of all types.
During your trip, you might purchase a traditional galabeya, to wear on Egyptian night. You can buy these in port cities like Esna for less than $20 U.S.
For the most up-to-date testing, masking and vaccination requirements aboard Viking Osiris, visit Viking's health and safety information page. You can also use Cruise Critic's guide to health requirements on the world’s major cruise lines as we know them.
At least one daily shore excursion is included in your Viking Osiris cruise fare, and they are enriching and fascinating. Led by specialists who know everything about Egypt (including how to read hieroglyphics!), shore tours will visit all the highlights, including the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx, Abu Simbel, Luxor and Karnak temples and much more.
Expect to walk -- a lot -- and see ancient temple after ancient temple. You won't get bored, as each offers its own charms.
You'll also have the option of taking premium tours, like a visit to King Tut's tomb or a sunrise hot-air balloon ride in the Valley of the Kings.
• All meals onboard
• Wine, beer and soft drinks at lunch and dinner
• At least one excursion in each port
• Pre-cruise hotel stay in Cairo
• Charter flight from Cairo to Luxor
• Enrichment and entertainment
• On-demand TV and movies
• Bottled water
• Premium wines, spirits and drinks between meals
• Premium shore excursions
Viking generally has a demographic of 55-plus, and on Osiris for the Nile River and Egypt, which is a bit of a bucket-list trip, the age is slightly older. Most guests are Americans, with Brits and Aussies sprinkled in. Expect a chatty cruise with people who want to share their experiences at the end of the day. Many passengers will have sailed with Viking before and are fans of the cruise line.
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