- Candace Ahlfinger
Our Viking Adventure
Our first long ocean cruise and on the Viking Venus on their voyage In Search of the Northern Lights!
We have been on three river cruises with Viking and are always impressed with their service, ships, and flexibility. This cruise was no different as they had to deal with Covid, Covid protocols, and stormy seas. Throughout everything, the crew came through. Every one of them always greeted us with a friendly smile and a willingness to do whatever was necessary.
The Viking Venus is a beautiful ship. Its nine floors normally hold 930 passengers and 465 crew members. Due to Covid, the passenger number was under 500 so the passenger to crew ratio was even better than normal.
The ship’s three-story atrium is the heart of the ship. This beautiful area has main stairs from the bottom to the second floor that make you feel like royalty as you walk down. At the top of the stairs is a gigantic digital display that shared interesting facts and displayed paintings. Each evening, wonderful piano and violin music accompanied the exhibition of paintings by Norway’s own artist, Munch.
Dining onboard was excellent. The World Café buffet was open for every meal, but other restaurants had seated options. We ate at The Restaurant multiple times with its changing specials along with a wonderful set menu. Our servers felt like friends after the very first evening. They greeted us whenever we were other places on the ship and welcomed us when we came in for a meal. We also ate several times at the Pool Bar, Mamsen’s, Manifredi’s Italian Restaurant and The Chef’s Table. (The Kitchen Table was closed due to Covid.) The Chef’s Table features a themed tasting menu with wine pairings. The luscious portions were perfectly sized to allow for a five-course meal. Manifredi’s Italian food was also delicious, especially the mushroom soup. To be honest, we also had snacks at every available cozy nook and every bite we ate was luscious. (Beer and wine are included at lunch and dinner on Viking cruises.) And, if these options weren’t enough, room service is available 24/7 for no additional cost.
Just a Few of the Meals--Every Delicious Bite
After all we ate, we needed the ship’s large, well-equipped fitness center and lots of walking areas both inside and outside the ship. The fitness center is not stuck in a dingy basement. Instead, many of the large pieces are placed strategically so exercisers can watch the beautiful scenery as they work out. The pool and hot tub are on the 7th floor where the roof can be opened during warm weather for an outdoor experience—not possible in January for our trip to the Arctic!
We took advantage of the spa’s amenities with a gigantic jacuzzi (think small swimming pool size), a sauna, and even the Snow Grotto before retiring to the heated benches to relax. (Although there is no additional charge to enjoy these amenities, reservations are needed.) The spa provides massages for additional cost, but we were too busy to take advantage of them.
Entertainment ranged from lectures about places we were going to see, to trivia games, to shows, and to bands. The casual atmosphere made each of these options lots of fun. The shows took a different spin each night. One night the star was Juliette Primrose, a violin and fiddle player who starred as the solo fiddler in Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance. Another night was “A Musical Journey to the Sounds of the Sixties,” while another night featured “The ABBA Songbook.” The lectures on topics related to cruise destinations were always interesting and could also be seen in our room along with movies and television shows.
One additional amenity that was important to us was free laundry availability. We were able to take our clothes to washers and dryers located conveniently on our floor. Viking even provides detergent, so we were able to wash our clothes after a week of traveling before we boarded. (Some upper cabin levels also have laundry service included.)
But, to the reason we were on this cruise—to see Norway and the Northern Lights!
See our week in London, England, before boarding our Viking Ship.
See our adventures as we searched--and found--the Northern Lights!
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