In The Viking Caribbean, No Smuggling Skills Needed, Door Wide Open


Continuing to prepare for the arrival of Viking Star in the Caribbean, today we go to the world of pirates, treasure and smuggling.  Now forget the pirates and treasure, focus on the smuggling. Or don’t.  Yes, not thinking about smuggling in the same thought as the Caribbean may be a difficult concept to grasp by a number of cruise travelers. We don’t blame the other cruise lines; they have to make up for artificially low cruise fare prices somehow. Still, the price of onboard beverages on a number of cruise lines can easily add $hundreds more to the price paid to get on the ship.  The choice is simple: smuggle or pay.  But that skill is not needed in any way with Viking Ocean Cruises, for a number of reasons.

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That beer and wine are included during meal times hits the lions share of consumption.  Add reasonable prices for alcoholic beverages at other times in the Viking Caribbean and the situation turns around to be far more traveler-friendly.  Want to buy something to drink ashore and bring it on the ship?  Walk right on with it, that’s no problem either.  In your stateroom you’ll find a chilly refrigerator to cool that beverage and a cabin steward who will keep you stocked up on ice as well. A big step in the right direction that does not stop there, everyone in the Viking Caribbean finds more included as well.  Stop by the lobby bar for a cappuccino or espresso. Coffee drinks are also included as are soft drinks most of the time.  A self-serve coffee station, two of them actually, is fully stocked 24 hours a day in the ship’s World Cafe.  Room service too has all of the above.   But that’s not the end of this story.

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A very good example of how Viking is constantly listening, learning and acting on what passengers have to say comes from this arena of beverages as well.  In a rare “like other cruise lines” moment, Viking Star originally also charged a gratuity in addition to that reasonable ala carte price alcoholic beverages served outside of meal times.  Viking Travelers did not like that so it was removed, menus reprinted and the passenger experience ruled over profit, something we just don’t see a lot of these days.

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Also lovely, we find dining areas well staffed with plenty of people around to keep those glasses full.  Better yet while daily included selections include a good German Pilsner beer and house wines that would easily score 85+ points* without trying, there is an upgrade available.

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Viking’s Silver Spirits Plan does what Viking does best: open doors to worlds not seen before, especially in the Caribbean.  All Viking Travelers  enjoy complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks with onboard lunch and dinner service, plus specialty coffees and teas are available 24 hours a day.  The Silver Spirits plan is nicely priced at $30 per day and brings premium cocktails, wines and spirits.  A selection of top shelf beers are also included.

Granted the plan supplements what is normally included but makes sense for those who would like to push that wine to a upper 80 to low 90’s scored vintage.  Beer from around the world, top shelf spirits and just about any coffee drink one could think of are also on the list.  Frozen cocktails that go so well with the Caribbean?  Included.

To compare, on a recent 7 day sailing in the Caribbean typical of other cruise lines, we paid more than twice that rate for not nearly as large a selection of beverages from which to choose.  Frankly, the Silver Spirits plan on Viking Ocean cruises is an even better value than the river cruising counterpart.  But it does not end there.

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A very popular big ship feature being added lately taps the trending world of mixology with each line addressing that need a bit differently.  The world of mixology is one Viking is quite familiar with as their river ‘bar chefs’ create custom concoctions as just the beginning of a journey through spirits, wines and beers that change as the fleet of Viking Longships sail through Europe.  We found that same level of knowledge sailing with Viking Ocean Cruises in the Mediterranean and most often ended our day in the ship’s marvelous Explorers Lounge to continue that journey and tie the day up nicely with a bow.  Look for this area to be an understated hero in the Viking Caribbean as well.

Also in this Live Viking Caribbean Event series:

PreCruise Countdown Posts – In Progress

Coming Soon, when the voyage is in progress

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Live Day By Day Reports From Viking Star (coming soon)

New York City- getting there, transfer to the ship, sightseeing along the way, embarkation
At Sea- Exploring the ship and what to do on board
At Sea- Dining detailed
At Sea- Enterainment available onboard
San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Tortola, British Virgin Islands (Road Town)
St. John’s, Antigua
St. Lucia (Castries)
Bridgetown, Barbados
Guadeloupe (Pointe-a-Pitre)
St. Kitts (Basseterre)
St. Martin (Phillipsburg)
St.Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands  (Charlotte Amalie)
San Juan, Puerto Rico

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Daily Flickr Photo Albums Posted Live From Viking Star (coming soon)

New York City
At Sea
At Sea
At Sea
San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Tortola, British Virgin Islands (Road Town)
St. John’s, Antigua
St. Lucia (Castries)
Bridgetown, Barbados
Guadeloupe (Pointe-a-Pitre)
St. Kitts (Basseterre)
St. Martin (Phillipsburg)
St.Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (Charlotte Amalie)
San Juan, Puerto Rico

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Enjoying the Viking ocean cruise experience in the Baltics or Mediterranean was easy for us to compare; we have sailed in that part of the world before on multiple cruise lines. Still, the bulk of our cruise history is tagged to the Caribbean, from a variety of angles.  We sailed there as a family when the “kids” were in high school.  We returned later as a couple and I’ve done the Caribbean by myself too as a solo traveler.  As a travel agent, I booked a thousands of travelers just like us as well as group cruises ranging from celebrations like high school graduations, weddings, anniversaries and birthdays to neighborhood groups, multi-generational families, business incentives and at-sea training sailings.

This is the part of the world many of us know best and for Viking, the stakes are high.

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*Wine Spectator’s 100-Point Scale:

  • 95-100 — Classic; a great wine
  • 90-94 — Outstanding; superior character and style
  • 80-89 — Good to very good; wine with special qualities
  • 70-79 — Average; drinkable wine that may have minor flaws
  • 60-69 — Below average; drinkable but not recommended
  • 50-59 — Poor; undrinkable, not recommended