Viking Homelands Ocean Cruise
Recently my husband and I set sail on a Viking Homelands Ocean Cruise from Berlin, Germany. We cruised through the North Sea, on to Denmark and Norway. Our cruise was hosted by Viking Cruises.
My husband I were recently hosted by Viking Cruises on a Viking Homelands Cruise. The Viking Star originally set sail in Stockholm (a 15 day Viking Homelands journey, visiting eight countries: Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Poland, Germany, Denmark, and Norway).
We got on the ship in Berlin, to sail on to Denmark and Norway! Check out my Instagram stories if you want to see some of the videos.
All about the Viking Homelands Ocean Cruise
This post will cover everything about our Viking ocean cruise, and I’ll be sharing about the excursions in separate posts.
- Ship (what the staterooms, restaurants, spa, entertainment, gathering spaces, are like)
- Itinerary (ship life, tours, things to do)
- Restaurants (where to eat, etc)
It was the most beautiful, delicious cruise, filled with so much history and our new-found love for Scandinavia!
Viking Homelands Ocean Cruise
As part of the media group, we jumped on mid-way in Berlin, traveling on to Denmark and Norway. Absolutely a beautiful part of our world.
If you missed my 3 Days in Berlin, Germany post, you can catch up and see how we started our vacation.
Traveling to Europe means that my husband and I do not check on luggage. (Above, our first selfie, exploring the ship!) Not checking on luggage means you have to be creative with your packing, and pack light.
I have to say, traveling with less makes me much happier. It really helps me pare down, and be smart with my clothing and shoes.
Once we got to Berlin and enjoyed three days there, we were excited to be transported to Warnemunde where we got on the Viking Sea. Viking makes checking on so easy, and within one hour we were on the ship and sailing off to Denmark!
With this our first time to cruise with Viking, one thing we learned from other passengers about their river and ocean cruising is that passengers are very loyal to Viking, and many have cruised with them for years. I can see why.
One word to describe our time would be classy. The activities on the ship are designed for the 50+ age bracket (yup, that’s us), and there are no all-night discos, no casinos or video arcades, and no passangers under the age of 18. So it was a completely different experience for us than other cruise ships we have been on.
Shipboard life on the Viking Sea is pretty fantastic. Let’s start with our room …
Viking Star Staterooms
The staterooms are located on decks 3-8, and all have balconies.
- Our stateroom featured the following amenities:
- King-sized bed
- Large flat screen television with on-demand movies
- Mini-bar with beer, wine, liquor, soft drinks, and snacks (complimentary and restocked daily – with Toblerone Mini Chocolates).
Did I mention the most comfortable bedding?
There’s also complimentary 24-hour room service, free wi-fi, 2 robes and slippers, complimentary ironing, and espresso coffee (every morning in bed, yes, please!) Oh, and that is Choco Nussa, a hazelnut spread found in France and Germany. Move over, Nutella (far better!)
We were welcomed with a bottle of complimentary champagne upon our arrival, too!
I couldn’t get over how large the room felt, and the bed was out-of-this-world comfortable. Many nights we slept with the sliding door wide open. Nothing like fresh ocean air!
We had a seating area with couch, chair, coffee and end table, and the balcony had two chairs and a table.
The balcony was a great spot for morning espresso and room service breakfast, especially when the ship was sailing, or we arrived to port right as the sun was rising. Beautiful!
The bathroom is huge, with a giant shower, excellent water pressure, and plenty of hot water. You can’t even tell you are on a ship!
Remember how my bags were packed at 26 pounds? There is laundry service on the ship, with three washers, three dryers, and two ironing boards and irons. There is no charge to use the facilities, with free laundry soap. There are also dry cleaning services available.
The pool, spa, and fitness room
There are two pools, and the main one in the center of the ship features a retractable roof.
Plenty of places to hang out and chill with a book!
One day was super warm and sunny, and we enjoyed the infinity pool, cantilevered off the back of the ship.
We also enjoyed lunch by the pool on this day, while leaving Aalborg, Denmark (the happiest city in Europe!)
There is a good-sized spa, salon, and fitness center, which we visited quite often.
The spa features Nordic bathing rituals, including hot and cold pools and a snow grotto room. A snow grotto room is the room you go to from the sauna, and snow literally falls from the ceiling and accumulates on the ground. (Watch my instagram story to see a video).
Also available is a cold water treatment, where you can end your sauna treatment by plunging yourself in very cold water. Extremely refreshing! We enjoyed several spa treatments, like massages and facials.
Activities and excursions
We were so impressed with the many sitting and lounging areas on the ship. There are board games and cards, movies and shows, enrichment lectures, fitness classes, movies, port talks, and everything you need to learn more about the countries you are visiting.
Never a dull moment, there is always something to do. Every morning we would read through the Viking Daily, to see what activities we wanted to do that day.
For the most part, our time was spent enjoying our ports of call, and we wish we had had a little more time to enjoy the ship.
The excursions were one of our favorite things about this cruise. In my next posts on Denmark and Norway, I’ll be sharing how Viking Cruises offers exceptional excursions, and there is something for everyone!
For us … think bike riding in Aalborg, and kayaking 7 miles in the fjords!
The 50’s crowd
As mentioned above, my husband and I are in our 50’s, and we really enjoyed the entertainment on the ship. We loved the Viking Band in the Viking Bar/Lounge, where there was dancing and just a lot of fun visiting with friends.
We don’t need every minute of our schedule structured, so we hit most of the shows, but not all of them. That is the beauty of this ship, that there are so many places to hang out. One thing we really enjoyed was the classical music preformed every night.
Where to eat on the Viking Star
Viking offers great food selections, ranging from a more casual kind of dining, to the elegant dining rooms and restaurants. You can choose where you prefer to eat, and we learned they cater to most diets! There are no pre-assigned times or tables, and you can just drop in, or make reservations.
We enjoyed meals at The Restaurant (for dinner) and the World Cafe (for breakfast and lunch).
The Restaurant is the primary dining area, with tables set for two to eight. We always dined with our friends, but it’s super fun to get to know other people on the ship, too.
The Restaurant requires a casual dress code (but no jeans), and no suits and ties or formal wear are required–ever–on the ship. This was also nice for packing.
What we loved was the regional selections on the menu, based on the destination we were visiting, with traditional favorites to choose from. We enjoyed lobster, New York strip, my favorite salmon, lamb, and duck.
The World Cafe is very casual and you can wear any kind of clothing. They feature salads, a sushi bar, sandwiches, and hot entree and side dish selections, along with the gelato and great desserts options.
This was our favorite place for sushi and lunch, especially when we returned from an excursion and wanted to grab a quick bite. Or a gelato :)
Or, make your own charcuterie board! When I made this mini charcuterie, one of the staff came up to me and said, that’s the prettiest plate of food I’ve ever seen! :) I was happy to take it back to our room and share with a few of our friends for an appetizer one evening.
When the weather was good, we dined outside on the deck! With views like this!
Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant requires advance reservations, and this became our favorite restaurant on board. The menu is outstanding, along with a great wine selection. Some of our favorite choices: osso buco, steak, and on the last night I enjoyed a classic lasagna. So good.
The Chef’s Kitchen was another dining experience we enjoyed (advance reservations required). The Chef features a rotating tasting menu and, again, the regional selections are based on the country we were visiting. If you want to be surprised, or you love gourmet, the Chef’s Table is for you!
The Pool Bar & Grill has excellent burgers, and serves longer hours than The Restaurant or World Cafe.
We loved to hang out at Mamsen’s in the Explorers’ Lounge!
Explorers’ Lounge is located at the front of the ship, a wide-open area which was a great spot to watch the sunset, and enjoy the time at sea from an indoor location (when it was raining outside).
The last afternoon on the ship, Lori (RecipeGirl) and I enjoyed Tea in the Wintergarden, which is served daily from 4-5 pm.
They feature an elegant selection of sandwiches, petit fours, and other pastries. And of course classical music is playing, and the space is beautiful and relaxing.
Most mornings we ordered room service for breakfast, and enjoyed it on our balcony!
The Staff on the Viking Star
The staff on the Viking Star worked so hard to ensure our cruise experience was the best. If you have a special request, they’ll make it happen.
A special thank you to Cindy, our Stage Room Host, and to Roman, who made our dining at Manifedi’s exceptional.
Eventually we arrived in Bergen, Norway, and spent two days in the rainiest city in Europe!
Next post: Ports and excursions in Denmark and Norway!
Disclosure: Thank you Viking Cruises, for inviting us on this amazing journey. As always, all opinions are my own.