Looking for a Viking Ocean Cruise in 2019? Look no further, Into the Midnight Sun Viking Cruise has probably the best cruise itinerary out there. A 14-day journey across Norway, Scotland, and England, packed with stunning landscapes, impeccable service and, of course, the Midnight Sun. Traveling on board a luxury ocean cruise ship is an experience like no other, but doing it through the coasts of Norway and the UK makes this trip an experience of a lifetime.
Imagine yourself surrounded by stunning fjords, colorful and picturesque fishermen villages, pristine lakes, and a lot of wildlife. After cruising the Arctic Circle it’s time to see the gorgeous Midnight Sun and sail to the North Cape before setting route to UK’s most wild islands, known for their impressive cliffs, furry poneys, and cute puffins. If this Viking Ocean Cruise itinerary sounds like the perfect trip for you, keep reading, you will be surprised about how unique, well organized and luxurious Into the Midnight Sun Viking Cruise is.
Our Viking Ocean Cruise review will cover the ship itinerary, restaurants, bars, onboard facilities, staterooms, shore excursions and much more.
Into the Midnight Sun Viking Cruise Itinerary
Our Into the Midnight Sun cruise itinerary started in Bergen, Norway and ended in London, UK, passing by Geiranger, Molde, Tromsø, Honningsvåg, and Lofoten in Norway, and Lerwick, Kirkwall, and Edinburgh in Scotland. A total of 14 days sailing through fjords, crossing the Arctic Circle, visiting historical cities, getting to know the local culture, people and, of course, the local cuisine. It’s a true immersion into the Viking culture. And the best part is, you can visit all these places without worrying about packing and unpacking, organizing tours, booking drivers or restaurants.
Into the Midnight Sun Viking Cruise also sails the opposite direction, from London to Bergen. And as we are talking about the cruise itinerary, let me share a bit of the onshore excursions and activities we did before getting into the proper Viking Ocean Cruise review. Apart from the outstanding ship and service, no doubt the Viking Cruise shore excursions were the highlight of the trip.
Viking Ocean Cruise Shore Excursions
There are tours at all port of calls, which are included in the Viking Ocean Cruise price, but there are also optional excursions for which you will need to pay extra. Over 75 different excursions were available on our itinerary, they carefully selected tours to attend travelers looking for cultural, historical, nature, and/or adventure experiences. It’s important to mention that you need to book your tours in advance, the earlier the better as some of them have limited capacity.
Here are the destinations and some of the shore excursions offered during Into the Midnight Sun Viking Ocean Cruise:
Time on shore: Approx. 26 hours.
Bergen is the second largest city in Norway, an important port and for centuries it was the capital of the country. You have plenty of time to explore the city as the ship stays in Bergen for a whole day. The port is close to the city and you can easily walk to attractions like the Fish Market and to the historical buildings of Bryggen wharf. Watching the sunset from the top of Floyen mountain is a must.
Recommended Shore Excursions: Fjord Fishing and Flightseeing over Fjords & Glacier
Time on shore: Approx. 10 hours.
The quote “the journey is the destination” fits perfectly here. To reach Geiranger our ship cruised through monumental fjords and countless waterfalls. It was one of my favorite parts of the journey, sipping cognac at the Explorers Lounge while admiring the Norwegian fjords. In Geiranger the ship was anchored so we needed to take a 10-15 minute tender ride to/from the shore. The town is small, there are several souvenir shops and restaurants, and it’s home to the Norwegian Fjord Museum. The famous viewpoints, Eagles Bend and Flydalsjuvet are accessible by taxi or with the shore excursions.
Recommended Shore Excursions: Geiranger Eagle’s Bend Overlook & Fjord Center and Kayaking Geirangerfjord.
Time on shore: Approx. 10 hours.
Molde is famous for the Molde Panorama, an impressive range of 222 mountain peaks, picturesque villages, and the Atlantic Road. We stopped at Håholmen, a tiny fishing village that dates back to 1700. It was an important fishing port for years, the colorful fishermen’s houses are now hotel rooms and restaurants. Another highlight of this Viking Cruise shore excursion was the driving through the curvy bridges of the Atlantic Road, impressive.
Recommended Shore Excursions: Håholmen, a Viking experience.
Time on shore: Approx. 6 hours.
Tromsø historical center is a short walk from the harbor and it’s packed with stunning architecture. The city also houses the Arctic Cathedral and a cable car that will take you to the top of Storsteinen, 421 meters above sea level.
Recommended Shore Excursions: Svensby home visit and Husky trek through arctic hills.
Time on shore: 6 hours.
Honningsvåg is the northernmost city in Norway and it’s also the departure point to Nordkapp. Our tour to the North Cape was great fun even with harsh weather conditions.
Recommended Shore Excursions: drive to the North Cape and visit Honningsvåg & Surroundings by ATV.
Leknes (Lofoten), Norway
Time on shore: Approx. 6 hours.
The Lofoten Islands are blessed by nature, its mountains, lakes, and fjords are absolutely stunning. This is definitely a place I will return to stay longer. Our 4 hours hike was just a glimpse of how appealing the nature on the Lofoten Islands is.
Recommended Shore Excursions: Tjorndalen Scenic Hike and Sea Eagle Safari by RIB
Lerwick (Shetland Islands), Scotland
Time on shore: Approx. 10 hours.
The best word to describe the Shetland Islands is wild. The cliffs, the rough seas, the chilly wind, and the ponies. This archipelago is beautiful, it’s got stunning nature and over 1,500 ponies living there freely. While exploring the island we saw sheeps, ponies, puffin birds, flowers, lighthouses and houses that seem to have come from a child’s storybook.
Recommended Shore Excursions: Shetland Panorama & Ponies and Walking the Nature Trails of Mousa Island.
Time on shore: Approx. 8 hours.
The St. Magnus Cathedral and the Earl’s and Bishops Palace are examples of Kirkwall’s splendid architecture. Its UNESCO Neolithic sites are among the best preserved in the world.
Recommended Shore Excursions: Highlights of historic Orkney.
Rosyth (Edinburgh), Scotland
Time on shore: Approx. 10 hours.
Visiting Scotland’s capital is like a trip to the past. The narrow alleys and passages are a maze around the extraordinary Edinburgh Castle. The Scottish bagpipers performing along the Royal Mile add a fine touch to this medieval city. Bear in mind that the pier is located about 40 minutes from Edinburgh city center by car.
Recommended Shore Excursions: Edinburgh Highlights.
Greenwich (London), England
Time on shore: Approx. 22 hours.
London is one of the most important and diverse cities in the world, thanks to the extensive reach of the British Empire. Buckingham Palace, London Eye, the Parliament, the Shard, its museums, parks, and galleries are just a small sample of what to do in London.
The arrival in London was amazing, cruising through the River Thames, passing by the Thames Barrier (check the video above) and seeing the change of scenery was incredible. The boat was anchored at Greenwich Port and we reached the shore by tender. It usually takes less than 10 minutes to/from the shore. From Greenwich to London city center it took us about 40 minutes by taxi.
Recommended Shore Excursions: I need to add a HIGHLY recommended here, the Ceremony of The Keys at the London Tower is a unique experience. Don’t miss it.
Into the Midnight Sun Viking Ocean Cruises Review
Viking Ocean Cruises has a fleet of 5 ships, and one more will be deployed in 2019. Each ship can carry 930 passengers, they’re categorized as “small ships”, with a length of 745 feet and a beam of 94.5 feet. This allows the ships to easily navigate and have access to most of the ports. The Scandinavian design gives them an elegant and modern touch, it’s luxurious without being too posh. Our Into the Midnight Sun itinerary was done on the beautiful Viking Sea ship, or as the Captain used to call her: “the shining star of the sea”.
The Viking Ocean Cruise Staterooms Review
The staterooms are designed for your comfort and convenience. One big advantage of Viking Ocean Cruise ships is that every stateroom has its own veranda. There are 6 stateroom categories, ranging from 270 to 1.448 sq ft.
I stayed in the Deluxe Veranda Stateroom, which has 270 sq ft, a spacious closet, king-size bed (super comfortable one) and a spacious bathroom with heated floor. The room comes with a 42” flat screen interactive TV, mini-bar with soft drinks, Freyja toiletries, purified water refilled daily and an impeccable stateroom steward & housekeeper (Tks so much Cecilia for taking such good care of me!).
The room is really well designed, it felt fluid and functional. I had no problem storing my clothes and photography gear. The room service was straightforward and punctual. I’ve ordered in-room breakfast 3 times and they were always served on time. Having breakfast on my veranda was a great way to start the day, totally recommend doing it.
To have an idea, here are the sizes of each stateroom category:
Veranda Stateroom – 270 sq ft
Deluxe Veranda Stateroom – 270 sq ft
Penthouse Veranda Stateroom – 338 sq ft
Penthouse Junior Suite – 405 sq ft
Explorer Suite – 757 – 1,163 sq ft
Owners Suite – 1,448 sq ft
Other perks of the bigger staterooms are the welcome champagne bottle, priority on booking shore excursions, spa, and restaurants; mini-bar with alcoholic beverages and even a private wine, book and music collection curated by the Viking Cruise Chairman, Torstein Hagen.
Viking Ocean Cruises Restaurants Review
There is one problem with dining on Viking Sea, it’s hard to choose where to go as all the restaurants are brilliant. Here is the list of restaurants on board:
Wintergarden: the place to be at 4 pm, the High Tea was delicious with an incredible tea selection from all over the world and freshly baked scones.
The Restaurant: the main restaurant serves “a la carte” and the menu changes according to the destination.
Manfreds: this Italian restaurant was my favorite. The polenta and the “Bistecca alla Fiorentina” were better than the ones I’ve tried in Italy.
Mansens: delicious Nordic food, the smørrebrød and the waffles topped with berries were to die for.
The Chef’s Table: a great experience of a multi-course tasting and wine pairing.
The World Cafe: an international buffet that makes everyone happy.
Pool Grill: I’ve tried the burger, the cheese steak, and the pulled pork sandwich and I still can’t tell which one was the best.
Entertainment onboard Viking Ocean Cruise Ships
Do you want to attend a TED talk? Watch a documentary? Play mini-golf? Practice yoga? Enjoy some drinks? Or maybe do nothing at all and just relax?
There is always something going on onboard and with so many options the places don’t get too busy (except the High Tea at the Wintergarden). Some of the entertainment options onboard the Viking Ocean Cruise ships are:
Thorshaven: a Jazz bar with an incredible selection of Armagnac and Whiskey.
Paps: my favorite bar, as soon as I arrived, Noelia, the lovely waitress, knew what I would order: the “Paps Special”, a rich warm cognac drink. Paps bar is located at the Explorers Lounge.
Viking Bar: I had a few beers and uncountable coffees there.
Cinema & Theater: TED talks, Q&A, movies, and shows.
The Explorers Lounge: find me there for late night drinks, afternoon snacks, and morning waffles.
Spa, gym and hair salon: the gym is well equipped and usually not too busy. The spa offers sauna, massages and even a snow grotto (with real snow).
Infinity Pool: in addition to the main swimming pool there is an infinity pool. It is located at the stern of the ship on Deck 7 and it’s gorgeous. You truly have the feeling that you are floating over the sea.
Aquavit Terrace: sip cocktails while enjoying the view of the infinity pool.
Pool Bar: relax by the pool having an ice cold beer.
In all ambients, you will find the Scandinavian touch, either on their design or on the Viking art collection.
Viking Ocean Cruises Prices – What is included?
Think of a hassle-free holiday. From the check-in and border control, to the check-out, everything was flawless. I believe that the main difference and advantage of Viking Ocean Cruises is all the services and perks you have included on your Viking Ocean Cruise.
The price of the Into the Midnight Sun Viking Ocean Cruise includes:
Accommodation: depending on the room you choose you can have special services such as priority on booking the spa and restaurants, welcome champagne bottle, laundry service…
Access to the Spa facilities: sauna, pools, and gym. Massages, spa treatments, and beauty salon services are paid separately.
Onshore excursions: one free excursion at each port. All onshore excursions are planned and organized by Viking Ocean Cruises team with transportation, guides, attractions, all included. You will only need to show up and enjoy it.
Food: all meals and snacks are included on the Viking Ocean Cruises package. You can have breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner in any of the restaurants/bars, just keep in mind that some of them require reservation.
Beverage: house wine, beers, soft drinks, coffees and teas during meals are included in the Viking Ocean Cruises price, all other liquors are paid separately. If you want to have the all inclusive feeling you can buy the Viking Cruise Silver Spirit Beverage Package which includes unlimited premium wines, beers, cocktails, specialty coffees, juices and mineral water for the entire duration of your cruise. This package is valid for beverages under 15 USD and includes a huge range of quality drinks and spirits.
Wifi: free internet connection on board. That was a positive surprise, even when we were cruising through the Arctic Circle Wifi still worked.
Room service: 24 hours room service.
Entertainment on board: all activities, shows, and talks are free for all passengers.
Laundrette: washing and drying your clothes at the ship laundrette is free, if you don’t want to do it yourself you can ask the staff to wash and iron them for you, but this service has an extra cost.
Incredible staff: good service and smiles should be part of any luxury cruise, but the Viking Ocean Cruises team will go above and beyond to make your holiday a memorable one. From the cleaning service to the guys at the bar, they deliver nothing less than an outstanding service.
What is not included in the Viking Ocean Cruises price?
Not much is left outside the Viking Ocean Cruises price, especially if you added the Premium Package for beverages. But there are a few things you might want to pay separately, as the optional on shore excursions that are more private or unique experiences, like flying over the fjords in Norway. Your personal expenses at the Spa and beauty salon, and the items you purchase at the onboard shop. If you want to add more flavors to your Viking Cruise, you can book the Table Kitchen Cooking School which is not included in the cruise price, but it’s definitely a worthy experience.
What do you need to pack to Into the Midnight Sun Viking Ocean Cruise?
I’m not here to write a packing list, but just a heads up on some essential things you need to bring to this unique Viking Ocean Cruise experience. You can pack light as the laundrette service onboard works fine, don’t forget warm clothes and even a winter jacket. It’s summer but the wind and temperatures in the North Cape are still freezing. Bring your swimming suit and workout clothes if you want to keep fit during the trip. For men, I would recommend bringing a few shirts, as some of the restaurants have a smart-casual dress code. A camera is essential, the Viking Cruise itinerary is so beautiful that you will end the trip with hundreds of photos. Books are optional, you will find numerous books to borrow from Viking Living Room and the Explorers Lounge.
When should you book the Into the Midnight Sun Viking Cruise?
The Into the Midnight Sun Viking Ocean Cruise runs only in June and July, which means that you have just a few opportunities to join the cruise and see the Midnight Sun onboard a luxury ship. So, when should you book your Viking Ocean Cruise? The sooner the better. Viking Ocean Cruises are small luxury ships, so if you want to be part of the next adventure you must start planning it now. All the information about prices, types of rooms and sailing dates are on Viking Ocean Cruises website.
Being on board a luxury Viking Ocean Cruise with such exclusive and intimate service is a holiday like no other. The Into the Midnight Sun Cruise has one of the most unique and stunning itineraries, a mix of culture, nature, and adventure. Not to mention the 5-star service, the food experience and how relaxing the trip was.
We didn’t mention it before, but I went on this trip alone and I can’t wait to go on a Viking Ocean Cruise with Nat. I’m sure she will love it, and as I said before it’s definitely an experience every traveler should have at least once in a lifetime.
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PS: our Into The Midnight Sun trip was organized by Viking Oceans Cruises, but it doesn’t matter who paid the bill, you always receive our honest opinion about the services and destinations.