The scoop: What to know about Viking

Set your expectations high for these award-winning river, ocean, and expedition cruises.

view of Viking ship in Welland Canal
(Photo: Courtesy of Viking)

Here at TourScoop, we give you the information you need to make confident decisions about land and cruise tours. Here’s our comprehensive review of Viking.

The cruise tour company Viking was founded in 1997 with a focus on providing travelers with culturally immersive travel experiences. Viking expanded into the American market in 2000 and today has a fleet of more than 90 vessels offering river, ocean, and expedition cruises on all seven continents.

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The much-lauded company creates destination-focused itineraries for curious travelers. Each cruise voyage includes a shore excursion in every port, and onboard and onshore enrichment programming helps travelers get immersed in a destination through activities like cooking demonstrations, music performances, and port talks and lectures.

TourScoop takeaways

Couple on a zodiac approaching the Viking Octantis in Antarctica.
(Photo: Courtesy of Viking)
  • Destinations: Viking offers more than 100 cruise itineraries on all seven continents.
  • Tour Size Average: Most Viking river cruise vessels accommodate between 106 and 190 guests (depending on ship class in double occupancy staterooms). Viking’s ocean ships accommodate 930 guests in double occupancy staterooms, and the company’s two sister expedition ships each accommodate up to 378 guests in double occupancy staterooms.
  • Tour Type: River, ocean, and expedition cruises

How to book

Travelers can book cruise journeys via the Viking website, by calling 855-884-5464, or through their preferred travel advisor.

Credibility check

Viking has more than 450 awards to its name, including almost two decades of recognition in Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards and Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards. In 2023, Viking was voted #1 for Rivers, #1 for Oceans, and #1 for Expeditions in Condé Nast Traveler’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards, the first time a travel company has been voted #1 in all three categories simultaneously.

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Viking also earned top honors for oceans, rivers, and expeditions in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards in 2023 and was rated the Best River Line in Cruise Critic’s 2023 Cruisers’ Choice Awards for the second consecutive time. The company has a 4.6/5 rating based on 6,805 reviews on Cruise Critic.

Tour destinations

Viking offers river, ocean, and expedition voyages on all seven continents that travel to destinations ranging from Scandinavia, the British Isles, and the Mediterranean to the Caribbean, Africa, and the Middle East.

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New itineraries include the Treasures of the Danube “quiet season” sailing, the Classic China & the Coast ocean cruise, and the Antarctica, Chile, and the Americas expedition cruise.

Tour types

Ranging from eight to 23 days, river cruises travel on Europe’s Rhine, Main, Danube, Seine, Rhône, Douro, Moselle, Elbe, Dordogne, Garonne, and Gironde rivers; Egypt’s Nile River; and Southeast Asia’s Mekong River. 

Viking introduced its first ocean ship in 2015 and offers ocean itineraries designed to maximize the amount of time travelers spend in destinations like Scandinavia, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand, and Alaska.

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In 2022, the company introduced expedition voyages to Antarctica, the Arctic, and North America’s Great Lakes, along with cruises on the Mississippi River that travel between New Orleans, Louisiana, and St. Paul, Minnesota.

Tour guides

On Viking’s expedition vessels, exclusive partnerships with the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and other prestigious scientific institutions match leading researchers and educators with each expedition for onboard learning opportunities.

On all itineraries, onshore experiences include excursions offering a look at local life in a destination and exclusive entry to cultural landmarks around the world. Onboard enrichment offerings include guest lectures, cooking and crafts demonstrations, musical performances, and curated onboard libraries.

What’s included

view of spa pool on the Viking Octantis
Viking Octantis spa pool (Photo: Courtesy of Viking)

Every Viking voyage includes:

  • an outside stateroom
  • a shore excursion in every port
  • beer and wine service with lunch and dinner
  • free Wi-Fi 
  • onboard enrichment programming
  • port taxes and fees
  • ground transfers with Viking Air purchase

Viking’s ocean and expedition vessels also include:

  • complimentary self-service laundry
  • access to the Thermal Suite in the spa
  • high tea service
  • 24-hour room service

What’s not included

Prices for Viking voyages do not include airfare (unless purchased through Viking Air), travel protection, or optional beverage upgrades.

Typical travelers

view of seating area on the Viking Octantis
(Photo: Courtesy of Viking)

Viking creates experiences for curious travelers interested in science, history, culture, and cuisine. Cruises are for adults only, and all guests must be 18 years old on or before the day they are scheduled to embark on their cruise. Journeys tend to attract an older clientele, and there are no casinos, “umbrella drinks,” or formal nights onboard the ships.


Viking communicates with guests via email before, during, and after a trip. Travelers can book shore excursions and dinner reservations and find out more about their voyage on

During a cruise, guests receive a “Viking Daily” with printed details about the voyage and activities, which can also be accessed via the stateroom TV and on Viking’s app Viking Voyager, which has information about deck plans, excursions, and the daily activities calendar.

Sustainability efforts

Viking’s ocean ships were designed to be environmentally considerate and include energy-efficient hull, propeller, and rudder arrangements; engines with heat recovery systems; and a closed-loop exhaust cleaning system to remove and dispose of pollutants safely.

Viking’s expedition vessels feature an energy-efficient design that exceeds current Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) requirements by nearly 38%, engines with heat recovery systems, and an Azipod electric propulsion system. The ships received one of the industry’s first SILENT-E notations, the highest-level certification for quiet ship propulsion to minimize underwater noise pollution.

Health and safety practices

Viking maintains high standards for health and cleanliness. All staterooms on Viking ocean, river, and expedition ships feature independent air handling units that do not share air with other areas of the ship, and the air in ships’ public areas is purified with high-density filters.

Ocean and expedition vessels and the Viking Mississippi have state-of-the-art onboard medical centers, and river vessel passengers can receive medical assistance via a 24/7 hotline staffed by doctors onshore that can be accessed through the ship’s dedicated online portal or by phone. Learn more about Viking’s health and safety practices here.

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Beth Luberecki writes about travel, business, and lifestyle topics. Her work has appeared in publications including The Washington Post, USA TODAY,, and The Indianapolis Star. The Florida-based writer shares her travels on her website and on Instagram at @bethluberecki and @findingfloridafun.