I thought it was about time I bought myself to life as a traveller rather than just another advertisement so I am going to share with you my cruise aboard the amazing 5 star “No Kids” “ No Casino” Viking Orion on its maiden voyage from Bangkok to Hong Kong in October 2018.
Viking Cruises was voted the “World’s Best” By Travel + Leisure Readers In the 2017 Awards and after 14 nights aboard this wonderful ship I can attest to that.
This ship definitely had the WOW factor for me.
With a maximum passenger capacity of 930 guests (we sailed with 890 passengers at no time did I feel I was cruising with another 889 of my best friends), this 48,000 tonne ship had an understated luxurious feel and became very much a home away from home for us.
The décor is pure Scandavanian with lots of light airy spaces with intimate reading nooks where you can snuggle under a throw rug and lose yourself in one of the hundred’s of books to be found in the Heywood Hill curated Viking library throughout the ship. Scandanavian photograph’s, classic and contemporary paintings, sculptures and my favourite the Viking Heritage exhibit (a small exhibition of replica Viking clothing and tools) were enough to keep me busy whilst exploring the ship (when I was not in the restaurants or in the Thermal spa).
The Viking connection to the Battle of Hastings with King Harald Hardrad invading the North of England in 1066 is documented in the Bayeux Tapestry and this tapestry is the wall paper that decorates both stair wells. Orion’s resident historian Tom Macan took a small group of us on a tour of the wallpaper Tapestry which starts forward on Deck 7 down to Deck 1 and continues in the aft stairwell again from top to bottom. If you are a history nerd like I am you will love it and I enjoyed the historic talks by Tom and the guest Lecturer Colonel Anthony Coutts-Britton on South East Asia and the conflicts in the region.
Then there is the 26 seater Explorer’s Dome planetarium showcasing 3D movies about space, exploration & the native people of Norway – a couple of wines, 3 D glasses and a blanket and you blast off into space. Its essential to book spaces as early as you can.
What can I say about the food except it was wonderful. So many choices from The Restaurant (main dining room for sea day lunches and nightly Dinner offering regional & western classics – great Green curry & the Strip steak were my favourites), the buffet style World Café on Deck 7 – seafood to die for , Manfredi’s the Italian trattoria ( I overdosed on the Timballo al Gorgonzola – baked to order, parmesan cream sauce) , afternoon tea in The Wintergarden, light lunch at Mamsen’s- prawns & salad on open sandwiches accompanied by Bellini’s, and burgers at the Pool Grill .
Last but not least was The Chef’s Table (need to book for this) 5 course gastronomic global journeys with wine pairing ($25 per person if you have not opted to purchase the Silver Spirits Beverage Package) – this was exceptional.
Premium wines beers, and soft drinks with onboard meals are included in the cruise fare and you can also purchase the Silver Spirits Beverage package for USD$19.95 per person per day ( price based on 2018 package prices- both passengers in the cabin must purchase this) – I had to purchase this package for market research & certainly found it to be great value.
I did tend to spend a lot of the time (read every morning & afternoon when not doing shore excursions – 1 included in the cruise fare plus additional optionals) in the Thermal Spa with its wet steam room, thalassotherapy pool, snow grotto, bucket shower, dry steam room & cold plunge pool – experiencing a true Nordic bathing ritual – swimmers essential.
The shore excursions were well executed with buses transporting us to our various destinations with local guides who were a wealth of information. I particularly enjoyed Ho Chi Minh and Ho Ani and the stunning Halong Bay excursions but we were always glad to get “home” to the ship.
I did walk past the gym, the laundry (no interest in either of these two ) spied the mini golf putting course, table tennis & deck games on the sports deck & the card & board games on Deck 2 and forgot about room service altogether.
We were entertained with Trivia and the nightly shows by the funniest Cruise Director ever – Nolan Dean & the fab Viking Vocalists & band and would finish the night by dancing up a storm in Torshavn.
I am now officially a Viking.
Would I cruise again on Viking and recommend this to my clients – absolutely without a doubt !!!!!
If anyone ever tells you they would be bored on a cruise – Tell em they’re dreaming……..
Get in touch if you’d like to hear more about this wonderful journey, or if you’d like to plan a bucket list adventure of your own.