While Viking Osiris is a beautiful ship, people sail the Nile to explore Egypt. Viking's programming reflects this, and it starts with the program directors. These folks are dedicated Egyptologists and historians who serve as your tour guides in ports and onboard. It starts when you first arrive to the hotel and doesn't end until you leave Egypt, either for home or the line's popular land extension to Jordan.
On our sailing, our guides, Hanan and Salah, were excellent, providing details of everything from how the Great Pyramids were constructed to why the faces of gods in the temples were chiseled off.
Onboard, they provide lectures, giving insight into the region, what you'll see and even topics of more modern relevance. Guests are assigned a group and guide at the beginning of their journey, and it stays the same throughout. This keeps wait times at the various sites shorter, as guides perform a slick dance, visiting one area at a time, then swapping.
Viking Osiris offers exclusively a 12-night Pyramids & Pharaohs itinerary, which starts with three (included) days at a hotel in Cairo before cruising commences. Tours in Cairo are also led by the same program directors.
Viking provides water -- lots of it -- for guests on its Viking-branded shuttle buses and for consumption during the tours. Trust us, you'll want to drink plenty of water, especially if you're visiting in the late summer/early fall. You also can bring along umbrellas from the ship to provide mobile shade.
Outside of the shore excursions and lectures, you won't find much else in the way of activities, but you won't miss it, either. You're simply too busy to participate in anything beyond the occasional afternoon tea or onboard enrichment talks from your program directors.
Activities are clearly spelled out on the ship's Viking Daily, a paper planner left in your cabin each evening for the next day. This becomes your go-to for knowing what is going on, from when you'll meet for your excursion to what time lunch is.
Viking Osiris offers one bar, appropriately named The Lounge. It's open most of the day, but it's busiest in the evening after dinner. A pianist might make an appearance at the baby grand in the evening. There is a dance floor, but packed itineraries mean most guests won't stay up too late, as early-morning excursions are common.
Middling local beers and regional wines are available. Don't count on necessarily recognizing all the brands of the alcohol onboard, as most are local, and getting international brands onboard is difficult because of the high import taxes.
Wine, beer and soft drinks are included at lunch and dinner. Spirits, premium wines and between-meal beverages cost extra. The line's reasonably priced Silver Spirits package is available and a smart pick for those who don't want to worry about little costs adding up.
If you want a tea or coffee, you don't need to visit The Lounge; a self-service station (with cookies or pastries!) is available and stocked 24/7 near reception. There's also a water-bottle filling station here, though bottled water is plentiful and free onboard.
Viking Osiris' one pool is a long, narrow infinity-style pool located just off the Aquavit Terrace on Deck 4. It sits at the very aft (back) of the ship and is more a plunge pool than a swimming pool. It's deep enough for a dip on hot days and private enough that you won't worry getting in anyone's way.
The pool is surrounded by a handful of lounge chairs and flanked by papyrus plants, a nod to Egypt's history. There are no hot tubs on Viking Osiris.
Viking Osiris' Sun Deck is located on Deck 5. Here, passengers can gather to chat in covered conversation areas comprising couches and chairs. A number of lounge chairs are available, as are cute rocking chairs for looking out at the river. The area is rarely crowded but offers incredible views.
Viking Osiris' guest services area is located on Deck 2, right in the middle of the ship. A small, open, shop is situated on Deck 3, offering Egyptian jewelry and Viking logo items. A computer work area is on Deck 4, across from a small library stocked with books on Egypt, among others.
Wi-Fi is included with your cruise fare, and while it's not fast enough to support video streaming, it's good enough for emailing, social media and even uploading and downloading photos and videos.
Viking Osiris doesn't offer spa facilities or treatments.
Viking Osiris offers no gym or fitness facilities, and the pool is too small for swimming laps. Those looking to work out on their own will find some space on the Sun Deck, though they'll have to move a table or two. Walking or running ashore isn't recommended, as ship security is tight, and spaces aren't really set up for distance. You will get plenty of steps in during shore excursion time.
Viking Osiris is not family friendly. Its minimum age requirement is 18.