Life Aboard a Viking Cruise Ship

Viking’s river cruise ships are built to provide a comfortable, relaxing backdrop for your cruise. Spectacular scenery beckons from every part of the ship, including the Sun Deck, Restaurant, Lounge, lobby and every stateroom. Below please find some details about what life is like aboard a Viking Cruises ship, presented in alphabetical order.

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Take a 360 degree tour through a Viking Longship. Stroll the Lounge. Take in fresh air on the Aquavit Terrace. See sweeping views from your stateroom or suite. Your virtual tour begins here.


Hot coffee and tea are free all day; your meals are always accompanied by hot tea, iced tea or coffee, house wines and beers and soft drinks. Complimentary bottles of water are supplied in your stateroom each day. There is no corkage fee, so you may bring local wine aboard and enjoy it with your meals.

For those who may wish to enjoy premium wines and beers, cocktails and sparkling wine, we offer a Silver Spirits beverage package that may be of interest. To learn more about this package please speak to your specialist cruise consultant.


While the crew is preparing staterooms for arriving guests, you can relax in the ship’s lounge or leave your luggage with the staff and explore the embarkation city on your own. You will be given access to your stateroom mid-afternoon, at approximately 3:00 p.m. If you arrive during lunchtime, a light lunch buffet will be available in the lounge.


Dress aboard and ashore is casual; we suggest you dress comfortably and bring sturdy walking shoes for sightseeing excursions. Dinner attire is “evening casual,” and the Captain’s Dinner is dressy, but not formal. For more complete suggestions, see Packing Tips below.


All meals aboard are prepared by local chefs under the guidance of our European management team. Meals are open seating during set meal times—no table reservations are accepted. Room service is not available.


Guests requiring special diets such as vegetarian, low-salt, diabetic or low-cholesterol meals must alert Viking Cruises one month or more prior to departure, and should inform the Maitre d’ when on board. The chefs will make reasonable efforts to accommodate these requests.


Electricity on the ships is 220V. Our European and Russian ships have the German Schuko safety plug, which has two pins. In China the ships have a 3-pin blade safety plug; if you have an adapter with just the two slanted blades that will work fine. In Vietnam and Cambodia the ships use a two pin Europlug. Some of these plugs are grounded and some are not. For more details and pictures of the plugs, click on the link provided. Each stateroom will have one or two 115V razor plugs available, generally in the bathroom.


Some ships have fitness equipment, but most do not. Guests enjoy getting their exercise during daily shore excursions, and promenade decks provide opportunities for “power walks” while enjoying the scenery.


Your ship has hair dryers for guest use, as do most hotels. Your stateroom amenities include shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, shower cap and vanity kit.


See Staying connected below.


Laundry services are available for a fee; we regret that clothes cannot be dry cleaned. Typical lists of laundry charges are available in the links provided. Please note that prices are subject to change.

Staterooms are not equipped with irons or ironing boards, as these could create a fire hazard. We can press items for you, or you may bring a portable steamer.


Meals are scheduled around the day’s programs and activities. There is an early riser’s breakfast and a full breakfast buffet between 6:00 and 9:00 a.m. Lunch is served between 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., and dinner is served around 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Meals are single seating with an open-seating format, so travelers can come in when they are ready and sit where they like.


In China and Russia, there is a small clinic and a physician on board your ship; however, the physician may not speak fluent English. A staff member fluent in English will assist you. On European ships, medical care is readily available using local resources. If you are feeling ill, inform the Reception desk immediately.


Here is some information to help you deal with money and currency issues, both on shore and aboard your ship.

Currencies & exchange rates
Local currencies vary with the regions where we travel:
China uses the renminbi (RMB), whose basic unit is the yuan
Most of Europe uses the euro, except for Hungary which uses the forint and the Czech Republic which uses the koruna
Hong Kong uses the Hong Kong dollar
Cambodia uses the riel
Vietnam uses the dông
Thailand uses the baht
Russia uses the ruble
Ukraine uses the hryvnia

Current exchange rates are available in the financial sections of newspapers and at websites like XE and CNN Money (see links).


Unfortunately, your ship will not be able to change money for you or accept travelers checks for payment of your shipboard account. You may be able to change cash or travelers checks at some hotels, most banks and exchange bureaus for a fee.

In China:
Chinese law prohibits exchanging cash or travelers checks on board your ship. To change Chinese currency back to U.S. dollars, euros or other currencies, you will need to provide all receipts and currency declarations. Because this process can be quite time-consuming, we suggest exchanging currency in smaller increments, as needed.

In Russia/Ukraine:
Russian and Ukrainian currency is regulated. Change your hard currency (GBP, euros, etc.) only at official exchange points and use only rubles or hryvnia as cash (by law, our ships cannot exchange cash or travelers checks for hryvnia). A fee will be charged. The local people will be happy to accept your euros for tips, taxi rides and souvenirs, but it is technically not allowed.


ATMs are a good source of cash overseas; however, they may or may not be conveniently located in the larger cities and may be rare in smaller towns along the rivers. And, your itinerary may not always allow you sufficient time to locate one. Your Program Director or tour guide can probably help you.

When available, ATM's dispense local currency for internationally accepted ATM cards and/or credit cards, and have a service fee of approximately 3%. If you are planning to use ATM's, you should confirm with your bank prior to departure that your ATM/credit card and Personal Identification Number (PIN) will work abroad.


Euro card, MasterCard, Visa and American Express cards are accepted in all countries in major shops, restaurants and hotels as well as to settle your shipboard account. Your purchases will likely involve a foreign transaction fee, but you may be able to obtain a credit card that does not charge these fees. Before you depart, we recommend that you alert your credit card companies that you plan to use your card(s) on your trip as they will often refuse to honor credit cards if they notice irregular and/or overseas activity.

Please note: Credit cards with chip-based technology (or “chip and pin,” which require both a smart chip and entry of a PIN) have become increasingly common internationally. These cards can be used at dispensing machines, such as train and transit ticket vending systems, and at restaurants where transactions are processed tableside with a handheld device. Please contact your credit card provider for further information.


In Europe:
The on board currency is the euro. All on board purchases are billed with a guest check and added to your personal shipboard account. At the end of your trip, you may pay in cash (GBPs or euros), or by credit card (your bill will be converted at the current exchange rate). Unfortunately, travelers checks cannot be used for payment of your shipboard account. Please review your shipboard bill upon checkout so that we can more easily assist with any questions you may have.

In Russia/Ukraine:
The on board currency is the “unit,” an artificial currency aligned with the euro (1 unit = 1 euro). All on board purchases are billed with a guest check and added to your personal shipboard account. At the end of your trip, you may pay in cash (rubles, GBP or euros), or by credit card (your bill will be converted at the current exchange rate). The ship cannot accept travelers checks for payment of your shipboard account. Please review your shipboard bill upon checkout so that we can more easily assist with any questions you may have.

In China:
The on board currency is the renminbi, whose basic unit is the yuan. All on board purchases are billed with a guest check and added to your personal shipboard account. At the end of your trip, you may pay in cash (renminbi, GBP, euros or Swiss francs), or by credit card (your bill will be converted at the current exchange rate). The ship cannot accept travelers checks for payment of your shipboard account. Please review your shipboard bill upon checkout so that we can more easily assist you with any questions you may have. Note that all shipboard purchases will appear on your credit card statement as “CQ New Century Cruise.”


Many locations will accept travellers checks or credit cards. For incidentals and small vendors, you may be able to use the GBP in small denominations, but we recommend getting some local currency.


Many countries have laws against the purchase/export of certain items, including antiquities, cultural property and certain animal products. Additionally, UK laws prohibit the import of certain items. You can review current restrictions as well as duty free limits at the Customs & Border Protection travel site.


Many countries have a national “sales tax” (called value added tax or VAT) that is levied on most goods and services. In some cases and with the proper documentation from the point of purchase, it is possible to have a portion of this tax refunded to you on items taken out of a country in unused condition. Depending upon flight schedules and timing, it may be possible to receive a refund by applying at the airport kiosk before departure.

For information about tipping, see Tipping below.


The on board language is English. Your Tour Escort, Program Director, key staff and tour guides all speak English.


Each Viking ship has an on board shop area offering batteries, Viking Cruises logo items, souvenirs and select toiletries. Our China ship also offers a tailor who creates custom-made silk jackets and dresses, neckties and other items.


Most ships offer a library where reading material, games and puzzles may be borrowed free of charge. A few ships have additional services, such as a hair salon or massage services. Access detailed information about each ship from our fleet pages or within any itinerary.


What to bring
We suggest bringing comfortable, casual clothing. Ties and jackets are not required; there are no formal nights although some guests choose dressier clothing for the Captain’s Dinner. Consider dressing respectfully when visiting places of worship and other religious sites where you may be denied entry if wearing clothing considered to be inappropriate or too revealing. Your Tour Escort can assist you with any questions. Also, please consider baggage weight restrictions on the intra-China flights when packing.

Here is a short list of items you might want to bring with you:
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Dressier shoes
- Collapsible umbrella/lightweight rain gear
- Lightweight jacket/warm sweater/sweatshirt
- Sunglasses, sun hat or visor
- Toiletries (including medical remedies)
- Warm coat, gloves and water-resistant footwear (as needed for cooler months)

Pack in your carry-on baggage
We suggest you bring copies of your key travel documents (passport information page, airline tickets, credit card numbers and insurance information) and carry them separately in case you lose your originals.

You might also want to consider packing the following items:
- All needed medications, including prescriptions, in their original, labeled containers
- Eyeglasses, contacts, contact lens solution
- Important papers and travel documents
- Camera gear, film or extra memory cards, extra batteries
- Valuables

Optional items
Here is a list of optional items to consider bringing with you:
- Electric converter/adapter for UK appliances (220V)
- Travel alarm clock, travel flashlight, binoculars, anti-bacterial wipes and/or hand sanitizer
- Small calculator for foreign exchange calculations
- Travel journal/notepad and/or reading material
- Small, basic sewing kit/extra buttons; pack scissors in checked bags
- Address list or pre-addressed labels for sending postcards

NOTE: Most hotels and Reception on board have hair dryers available for guest use. Also, laundry service (no dry cleaning) is available on board for a fee. See Laundry above.


Make sure you are aware of current regulations about items you should not pack into a suitcase or carry on with you. We have provided a link to CAA’s list of prohibited items.


Our tours and cruises are not physically demanding; however, because of the nature of many of the sites you will be visiting, tours may not be appropriate for guests with certain medical conditions and physical restrictions. Walking tours are often on uneven ground or cobblestones and may include stairs and steep inclines.

Some ships have elevators and some do not; some ships have split-level decks and/or significant thresholds that could make movement difficult. Motorized scooters are not typically suited on international cruises and cannot be accommodated. Shore excursions may require movement over cobblestones or up and down stairs; accordingly, a physically challenged guest will require the services of a responsible adult since crew availability is severely limited in most circumstances.

Guests who have any medical, physical or other special needs should check the fleet information on our website to gain an understanding of the layout of any particular ship, and should contact Viking River Cruises, at 0800 319 66 60 directly with additional questions and to obtain a copy of our Policy Statement.


Please keep all jewelry and valuables in your stateroom safe. Most safes will easily accommodate cash, jewelry, small electronic devices, etc., but may not be large enough for all laptop computers. Interior safe dimensions on Viking Longships are 6.3” high by 18.5” wide by 15” deep; other ships’ safes may vary slightly.


All Viking ship interiors, staterooms and verandas are nonsmoking; this policy also applies to e-cigarettes. Each ship has an outdoor smoking area, generally on the Sun Deck.


How do you keep in touch while you are on a Viking Cruises ship? Here is some information about telephone and internet services.

Emergency contact information
If there is an emergency and you must be contacted while traveling, your family/friends should attempt to reach you directly by contacting the ship or hotel. The ship’s phone and fax systems operate via satellite network and may not get good reception throughout the trip. If unsuccessful, your family/friends can call the Viking River Cruises free number (0800 319 66 60) during our normal business hours. (Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.; Saturday 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; Sunday 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.)

Ship phone numbers
A list of ship phone numbers for emergency use can be found via the link shown.

Your stateroom
Most staterooms have their own telephone that can be used to call other staterooms, Reception, etc. Ship-to-shore calls can be placed at Reception; charges will be added to your shipboard account. The phones function via satellite and there may be times when reception is not possible.

Phoning home
If you are phoning the United Kingdom from a foreign country, the country code is 44.

International mobile phones
If you are planning to make or receive phone calls on a non-emergency basis, you should know that your cell phone may not work overseas—or it may work but run up large international roaming charges. You should contact your cell provider before you go to see what kind of arrangements you can make.

All Viking ships have internet access. Our ships in Europe, Russia and Ukraine have free wi-fi, so you can bring your laptop and get online at any time. Alternatively, each ship has a few computers for guest use; there are desktop machines in Russia and laptops in Europe that guests may use free of charge. Guests who bring laptops to Russia may wish to bring a LAN cable for use in their stateroom; this may work a bit better than the wireless LAN in rural areas along the river.

In China, there is an internet café with desktop stations for guest use free of charge. There is no on board wireless network in China or Southeast Asia, so you will not be able to get internet service on your personal computer while on the ship, although you may be able to do so during hotel stays. The ships also offer ship wide wireless internet access for guests who bring their own computer.

Please note that shipboard service may be unreliable during certain parts of the journey. The internet connection functions via cellular service or satellite, and there may be times when reception is not possible and/or when the connection is quite slow. For this reason, we recommend only checking and sending email. We do not recommend downloading large files or watching video online.


See Staying connected above.


Most staterooms have a television with flat-panel display. Depending upon satellite transmission, most ships receive CNN, BBC and other English-language programming, and quite a few feature a premium entertainment package including: CNBC, National Geographic, movie channels and a “bow cam.” There are usually itinerary-specific films as well.


Tips are not included in your cruise price, but are a voluntary way of showing satisfaction for good service. You may tip on board staff in cash if you like, or you may charge your tips to your on board account at the end of your holiday (except in Southeast Asia). These gratuities are distributed among the ship’s staff, including your Program Director. The local guides or tour escorts that travel with you in Southeast Asia, China, Russia and Ukraine and the on board Program Director in Russia and Ukraine do not share in the on board staff gratuities – it is customary to tip them separately and in cash.


The on board daily newsletter, Viking Daily, features information about daily activities, shore excursions and tour departure times, plus interesting background about your destinations.


While seasonal weather can differ greatly from year to year, here are some weather charts that show the average temperatures by month in some of the cities we visit. For live weather reports and forecasts, you can visit any reliable weather site or app; we like and BBC Weather.