Sailing in the Caribbean is something we know all about; we’ve done it a bunch on a bunch of cruise lines. From Fun to Ultra Luxury we’ve seen most of them and enjoyed each for different reasons, at different times in our lives. We’re anxious to try others as well. Moving along to the thinkable world of river cruising, we enjoyed that also, for entirely different reasons. When the people behind Viking River Cruises said they were going beyond where rivers end an into the sea with a plan to reinvent ocean cruising, we got excited about that. Several sailings on Viking Ocean Cruises later, we confirm: Viking has indeed created an entirely different option in the world of ocean cruising. But that was in the Mediterranean. In October, Viking Star comes to the Caribbean, a part of the world most North American cruise travelers are quite familiar with. Those who have sailed with Viking have the confidence to know the name means quality. But what about travelers who have not sailed with Viking before? What about first-time cruise travelers? Will they enjoy the Viking Caribbean way?
To make a long explanation short: Yes.
Of course, we can’t leave it at that now can we?
Our big reason for living here is to paint a vivid picture of what it is like to sail a given cruise line, based on our first-hand experiences. If you’re looking for a list of features, stock photos of the ships or accommodations, a better place to look would be the cruise line website itself. This website is all about the experience as it is created by the people who sail, work on and run the ships. Normally. That rule has applied to every cruise line we have ever sailed and has served readers well for over 15 years. But this is Viking and they actually do an extremely accurate job of setting the exact expectation of what travelers will see, do, eat, feel, and enjoy on their ships. We have documented that fact a number of times comparing Viking video resources to what we actually experienced traveling with them. The focus word here is traveling as opposed to sailing because that is exactly what we do with Viking. The difference is considerably more than one who has not experienced it firsthand might imagine.
One of the single most interesting parts of my job, first as a travel agent and now as whatever this is I am doing here is hearing back from people who go on trips, when they return. At the end of the time away from normal life, how do they look back on the experience, both immediately after and then again a week or so down the line. Some go into great detail about what they liked and disliked via email. Some I talk to live on the phone which is probably a more efficient way to capture their feel for the experience. The result of these conversations is important to me because they may have chosen a particular cruise line, ship or itinerary based on our recommendation. I want to know how that turned out and have a real stake in knowing the truth.
The Thinkable World Of River Cruising, Expanded
While elements of travel may not go as planned and are surely no fault of the cruise line (weather, airports and airlines come to mind), we try to anticipate those things going wrong and build in safeguards to minimize the effect. Still, at the end of the day, it’s where the travelers head is at that often turns a potentially bad situation into gold. It’s a thinkable world of travel we experienced on Viking River Cruises. Viking took us to the Disney World of UNESCO World Heritage Sites throughout Europe and we grew as individuals, adopted a more worldly view of people and places we had seen only from afar before. That theme continued in the Mediterranean, a sailing place we had seen and enjoyed with a variety of big ship cruise lines. The takeaway: this was different. And different in a very good way.
Why The Thinkable World Of Viking Will Work In The Caribbean
The unique Viking elements of including a tour with each port of call, beer and wine with meals, a variety of included dining options, internet access and more put our head in a different place. A relaxed place. And by relaxed I don’t mean ‘lazy relaxed’ which surely could be the way one would chose to do it. I mean relaxed like you had a big secret you really needed to tell someone and had kept it for years. Imagine a secret so big that it just ate away at your soul until you could take no more and then you were allowed to tell the world about it. Imagine the level of relief one might feel on that day when you told your best friend. That’s the magnitude of the good feeling we get very quickly on a Viking Ocean Cruise.
Another example: Today, we have music on demand in a variety of forms. We might have our favorite songs on our smartphone, computer or any of a variety of devices. On demand. Whenever we want it. If you can, try to remember a time when a great song would come on the radio when you were driving a car. That song was so good that your turned left to avoid going home right away by going right. You did not alter your planned route for any song, just this one song because it was so very good. We get that feeling when we walk on to a Viking ship and that happens a number of ways.
Viking is fond of describing what they do as a ‘thinking person’s cruise’ and that is absolutely true. But that is also really just the headline. True as it is, there is a whole lot more that goes into the choreography of what happens to us on a Viking ship from start to finish. We’ll get more into that along the way as we continue to countdown the days, until we sail then double back to document those pre-cruise thoughts with facts, photos and real time examples to back them up. The thinkable world of Viking in the Caribbean promises something unique and we are totally excited to see it and share it with you.
Also in this series:
PreCruise Countdown Posts – In Progress
- Coming Up: Viking West Indies Explorer, Epic Invasion
- Viking Cruises Caribbean: Island Connected Dining Like Never Before
- Viking Cruises Caribbean: Panoramic Island Hopping
- Viking Cruises Caribbean: West Indies Explorer Countdown
- Viking Cruises Caribbean Brings Different Shoreside Focus, Included (this post)
Day By Day Reports Posted Live From Viking Star While Sailing from New York City through the Caribbean
- Viking Star Arrives In New York
- In New York, My Viking Story Begins
- Viking Star Ambiance Sets The Mood For First Caribbean Sailing
- Viking Day At Sea Brings Relaxation, Reflection, Dining Pleasure
- Viking In The Caribbean: Enjoyable Hardware
- Onboard Viking Art Guide Brings Personal Self-Guided Experience
- Easy Embarkation Starts Viking Caribbean Season
- First Impression: Included Viking Caribbean Tours
- Viking Experience Tweaked For Caribbean Cruising
- Preliminary Scorecard: Viking Star In The Caribbean
- Preliminary Scorecard: Viking Inclusive Value Verified
- Preliminary Scorecard: Viking Caribbean Tours
- Caribbean Comparison Underscores Viking Difference
- My Viking Story A Natural Fit For Travelers
- Viking Guadeloupe Stop Highlights True Star Of The Show
- Viking Quality A Hit In The Caribbean
- Viking In The Caribbean: There Is Truly Nothing Quite Like
Daily Flickr Photo Albums Posted From Viking Star
- Viking Star New York Sailaway
- New York By Day From The Deck Of Viking Star
- Viking Star Embarkation Ambiance
- Viking Star- Seen In New York City
- Viking Star World Cafe- First Look
- Viking Star Entertainment- First Look
- Viking Star Living Room- First Look
- Viking Star- Seen Around The Ship
- Alistar Miller- Viking Cruises Resident Photographer
- San Juan Sunrise
- San Juan Cruise Port
- San Juan Easy Embarkation
- San Juan Sunset
- Bonus San Juan Sunrise (because we were there for two days)
- San Juan Sunset Sailaway
- San Juan Touring With Viking Ocean Cruises
- Arriving In Tortola On Viking Star
- Tortola Tour With Viking Ocean Cruises
- St Johns, Antigua
- St Johns Tour
- St Lucia With Viking Ocean Cruises
- Barbados Touring With The Eyes Of A Viking
- Barbados Cruise Port
- Mount Gay Rum Tour
- Guadaloupe Cruise Port
- Touring Guadaloupe With Viking Ocean Cruises
- St Kitts Cruise Port
- St Kitts Tour
- St Maarten Cruise Port
- St Maarten Tour
- The Caribbean Will Never Be The Same
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.