Viking Ocean’s Limited Time Early Booking Offer Can Move You Up to Luxury
When Viking launched their Ocean line last year, luxury cruisers were enthusiastic. River cruisers who had sailed with Viking through the world’s great rivers were excited. But frankly, there was little for the average cruiser to get worked up about. Until now. As the Viking Star sails through the Southern Caribbean this fall and winter, there are some offers that put luxury within reach of the rest of us. If you typically sail in a veranda or suite on ANY cruise line, you may find that these prices are just the ticket you’ve been looking for to test the luxury category of cruising.
Viking Star sails from San Juan on 10-night round-trip journeys, visiting nine ports, with prices beginning at $3,399 per person, or $339 per night. There are actually few cabins still available in that price range across the five months I checked, so let’s use an easier to find category DV4 (Deluxe Veranda) for the sake of comparison. And to make things a little more interesting, let’s look at the sailing that includes Christmas when the price per person is $4,499. For comparison, I first looked at a Deluxe Ocean View with Balcony on Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas at a price of $1,214 per person, or $151 per night for an 8-night cruise. Viking still seems a bit high. So then I jumped to a premium line and looked at Celebrity Summit sailing a 7-night itinerary in a Veranda category 2B at the price of $1,799 per person, or $257 per night.
Here’s where you have to start doing a bit of math. Royal Caribbean’s price is a cruise only price. You get no drinks (hard or soft), no shore excursions, no Wi-Fi, and port taxes and fees are an extra $91.05 per person. Celebrity has a Spring Sale going on that will allow you to have your choice of two of these options at no charge: Wi-Fi, a beverage package, pre-paid gratuities, or $300 on board credit.
But here is what a Viking cruise includes:
- Guided excursion in each port of call
- Culture Curriculum: Become immersed in your destinations through lectures on or performances of music, art, cooking, dance and history
- All onboard meals
- Wine/beer/soft drinks with lunch & dinner on board
- Free Wi-Fi
- All restaurant reservation fees
- All port charges and government taxes
Viking estimates that those things add up to roughly $350 per couple per day.
Now let’s compare with the extras added in:
RCCL: $326 per person per night
Celebrity: (with the Spring Sale options) $269 per night per person
Viking: $449 per night per person
But I have saved the best for last. If you book before March 31, Viking is throwing in the airfare to and from San Juan from 150 gateway cities. That is the game changer. Airfares are in the $550 or higher range that week from most gateway cities.
The final comparison would look something like this:
RCCL: $395 per person per night
Celebrity: $349 per person per night with the Spring Sale options
Viking: $449 per person per night with no limits on your meal-time beer and wine, soft drinks and snacks in your cabin replenished daily, guided tours in every port of call, and Viking’s famous luxury treatment.
I have not had the privilege of sailing on the Viking Star, but I saw her in port in Istanbul. She is a beauty. And brand new, for those who care about that sort of thing. I have nothing against either of the other two ships, in fact, I am booked on the Summit when she repositions to San Juan in October. The point here is to take advantage of the opportunity to experience a luxury cruise for just a bit more than what you would pay for a balcony cabin on either of the other two lines. And if you usually sail in suites, the Viking savings actually get better.
Experiencing luxury on the high seas is not out of your reach, at least not all of the time.