En route to the airport, after a weeklong, I-don’t-want-to-leave Viking Ocean Cruise in and around the island nation of Bermuda, I lamented that we hadn't had the time to visit St. George, the historic former capital. I had been told it was delightful, historic and charming. As we departed the transport van, I asked the driver various questions about what we had seen while driving to the airport, and mentioned my sadness at not seeing St. George.
“Well, what time is your flight?” he asked. “Come back up, I have time if you do!” My husband and I, astonished at the generous offer, climbed into the van, happily. Serendipity and friendliness had a lot to do with our Bermuda experience, and the type of drivers and excursion guides that Viking selects is indicative of the kind of quality and detail they consistently provide to their guests. Oh, and yes, St. George WAS indeed delightful, historic and charming, and is certainly a don’t miss.
I’d been on four Viking cruises - three rivers and one ocean, before this one in August, 2021. I was used to outstanding staff, delectable and varied cuisine, sumptuous staterooms, intelligently designed, creative excursions and superb onboard programs. The readers of Condé Nast Traveler have voted Viking both the #1 River Cruise Line and the #1 Ocean Cruise Line in the 2021 Readers’ Choice Awards.
Viking, now 24-years-old, has its mission statement as “Viking will never try to be all things to everyone. We provide an intimate, small ship experience for the intelligent and engaged traveler who values enrichment over extravagance. We promise you The Thinking Person’s Travel Experience. You can count on more time in port to explore the world’s great destinations; thoughtful enrichment programs that open doors to diverse cultures; and like-minded adults to share the journey.” We have found that statement to be accurate on each of our Viking cruises.
Viking ships are state-of-the-art with an elegant Scandinavian design, superb and varied cuisine and outstanding entertainment and enrichment on board - even planetariums on ocean ships with attending astronomers, as well as exceptional excursion options. Viking cruises are not for those who desire an all-you-can-drink party experience, although beer and wine are included with lunch and dinner and for a nominal fee. The line boasts that you will not find casinos, children nor umbrella drinks, rather, you will find an “atmosphere that is serene and refined.”
Bermuda, a tiny island country closer to North Carolina than to the Caribbean, chose Viking to bring in tourists this summer due to the cruise line’s protocols and responsible reaction to CDC regulations and recommendations. There are also several other island and tropical destinations which are definite. Viking is not only a European river cruise line. Indeed, the company goes to all seven continents with cruises ranging from 8 days to 245. Viking offers river cruises, ocean cruises, and the newly launched Expedition cruises to Antarctica, the Arctic, Canada and the Great Lakes in the U.S.
With Viking, you can choose to partake in the included shore excursions, or opt for additional excursions or simply explore on your own.
It’s not just the big things with Viking that people enjoy. It is the small touches too. the hot, steamed washcloths handed to passengers returning from excursions. The bookmarks, placed beside books in the staterooms. The baristas who remember how one likes their coffee. The almost 1:2 employee to passenger ratio. We still keep in touch with some folks we met on cruises - with such small passenger counts, it is likely to run into folks over and over and develop relationships. The temporary closeness a small cruise brings to its passengers is special and makes the vacation a much richer experience. Who knows, maybe we’ll meet again on another Viking Cruise...