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Viking Mekong Review

Viking Mekong
Viking Mekong
Viking Mekong
4.0 / 5.0 Cruise Critic Editor Rating
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Passengers 60
Crew 30
Passenger to Crew 2:1
Launched 2002
Shore Excursions 0
Diane Bair
Cruise Critic Contributor

Viking Mekong Overview

Viking Mekong is completely different from the river line's signature Longships. The ship is styled like a traditional French Colonial riverboat, and it feels more like an oversized yacht than a cruise ship, thanks to gleaming mahogany and teak and polished brass accents. It also feels older than it is, which is probably by design -- the simplicity of Viking Mekong melds well with its environment. A bright, shiny white ship would look completely out of place gliding past the stilt houses and sampans (flat-bottomed boats) along the Mekong. In this way, the riverboat complements its itinerary.

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On a ship with just 60 passengers, cruisers will get to know each other quickly. Staterooms are fairly basic, which lures cruisers out into inviting, open spaces like the Sun Deck, which offer a better way to mix and mingle. Deck chairs line the Sun Deck, some with shade and some exposed to sunlight, offering great views of life on the river. Although cabins have balconies, they're not really usable, since they're fairly narrow and, during the day, they get really hot.

Although the ship is pretty basic, the service is anything but. Crewmembers -- mostly Cambodian -- are unfailingly friendly. They greet you with a genuine smile, learn your name almost immediately and go out of their way to make sure you're comfortable. For example, our room steward overheard we liked chocolate (not a common treat in this part of the world) and made sure there was a little tray of sweets in our cabin every day.

Public areas include the dining room, a forward saloon, a small spa and a lecture room/movie room. Savvy passengers make it a point to get to the lecture room early to scope out prime seats with unobstructed views. During the day, everyone disembarks for at least one guided shore tour, often with a return to the ship for lunch before going out again in the afternoon. There is only one day spent floating along the river on this itinerary, so it's a fairly active schedule all in all.

This isn't the right cruise for those with mobility issues; since many destinations have no designated docking ports, a temporary gangplank or small sampan is used for access to land. Also, there is no elevator on the Viking Mekong. The ship is small, though, so you won't do much walking while aboard.

Fellow Passengers

Passengers are typically in the 55- to 65-year-old range, with a smattering of slightly younger and older passengers. Most are retired. On most sailings, about 80 percent of passengers are from the U.S., followed by the U.K., Canada and Australia. Most people have taken at least one other river cruise before tackling the Mekong, and you'll hear stories of the Danube and the Rhine at dinner. Passengers are typically folks who have traveled extensively and don't mind the physical effort it takes to see some of the glorious temples and exquisite monasteries on the agenda. The searing heat and humidity are not to be taken lightly here, either. If you do not tolerate heat well, this isn't the cruise for you.

Viking Mekong Dress Code

Dress aboard and ashore is casual, and dinner attire is "evening casual," meaning nice pants and a collared shirt for men and a simple dress or slacks and a pretty top at dinner for women. The same holds true for dinners ashore. The main consideration is dressing suitably for visits to religious sites, where respectful attire is a must. At Angkor Wat, for example, women are required to wear tops with sleeves (a scarf covering the shoulders is not acceptable),no short skirts and nothing too revealing or in bad taste (such as a T-shirt with a cheeky slogan). It will be hot, so bring light clothing and a hat with a brim. Wicking fabrics are a great idea, as well as loose-fitting pants and flowy dresses. A light rain shell is also handy in this tropical climate. Sports sandals are a good choice for exploring the uneven grounds and steep staircases at the temples. There's no need to bring heels or dressy shoes.

Viking Mekong Gratuity

The ship's onboard currency is the U.S. dollar. Gratuities are included in the fare for Australian and New Zealand passengers. For other passengers, Viking suggests a gratuity of $10 per passenger, per day, which is distributed among the ship's staff, payable by cash, Visa or MasterCard. The line also suggests a gratuity of $10 per passenger, per day, for the tour escort (who is with you for the duration of the trip), payable by cash only. Additional tipping is at your discretion.

MasterCard and Visa are accepted at the hotels used during the land portion of the trip. For local guides and drivers, Viking recommends tipping at the end of each tour in cash. Or, you can pay in a lump sum for local providers at the beginning of the trip, with a suggested one-time contribution of $50, which will be distributed to the appropriate parties. Most passengers opt for this to avoid keeping small bills on hand for tipping.

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Middle Deck
Upper Deck

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Viking Mekong Member Reviews

Viking Mekong
Sail Date: Oct 2018
We had a 3.5 hour bus ride from Siem Reap to the Mekong river port to pick up the Viking Mekong riverboat....Read More
Viking Mekong
George 002
Sail Date: Aug 2018
After many memorable experiences on land we embarked the Viking Mekong. The ship was beautiful on board (not much to look at from shore)....Read More
Viking Mekong
Sail Date: Dec 2018
Mekong river cruise, Dec 2018. We chose this cruise because we know and trust Viking, and had not seen much of Asia (this was my wife’s first trip to Asia). This cruise certainly met our expectations: The...Read More
Viking Mekong
Sail Date: Nov 2018
Interested in going to Vietnam and Cambodia to experience the culture, history, people and the food. While I knew it would be hot, I was not prepared for the humidity. The humidity permeated everything, even the...Read More

Viking River Cruises Fleet