Aboard Viking Orion Review
The Orion is Viking’s newest Ocean ship. Released on June 14th 2018, it’s the company’s fifth vessel with a capacity of 930 passengers. Godmother of Viking Orion is Anna Fisher, a retired NASA astronaut and the first mother in space. The ship is magnificent, read on below !
Having done so many cruises, it was our first time on a Viking ship. Check-in and boarding went very smoothly. With a glass of champagne and a cold towel, we were warmly welcomed by the staff, some of them were even dressed in traditional Viking clothes.
Atrium and The Viking Living Room
Our first impression of the vessel was excellent. We really liked the modern Scandinavian design and you could still smell the new furniture and carpets. Everything on the Orion was exceptionally clean and every detail was finished to perfection. State of the art with beautiful rural decoration on the tables by the pool, seating areas and restaurants.
The interior is modern, rural and contemporary. Even you notice some Norwegian influences with reindeer skins on the seats to decorate some places. Soft music (bird and ocean sounds) is played in the restrooms.
Me and my wife stayed in cabin number 5041, a deluxe veranda stateroom DV2 on deck 5. We enjoyed the size of the room, measuring 270 square feet. There is sufficient storage space for clothing and luggage can easily be stored under the bed.
Video of our Veranda Stateroom
Features include two luxurious plush bathrobes, slippers, a binocular, coffee brewer, traditional Norwegian Marius-weave blanket and a fridge replenished once daily with complimentary soft drinks and snacks.
My wife was enthusiastic about the desk/vanity flip up, and lighted vanity mirror with makeup storage area. A large 42″ interactive flat-screen LCD TV with free movies-on-demand is mounted to the wall directly across from the bed.
We really loved the bathroom which has ample storage space, a large sink, a spacious glass-enclosed shower stall and Premium Freyja® toiletries. The soap dish, tooth brush holder, glass tumbler and tissue box are from high quality design materials. There were USB’s ports all over. Our favorite feature of the bathroom was the heated floor. Never had this on any other cruiseline before. Loved it !
The size of the veranda was not that big but adequate with two chairs and a table large enough for having breakfast. Oh yes, we cannot forget to mention our room attendant “Fazri”, he was excellent !
The ship has also a free self service laundry room which includes detergent. Launderettes are located on decks 3, 4, 5 and 6. Very convenient and easy to reach from your stateroom.
In addition to the Spa Pool there are 2 other pools on Viking Orion. The main pool comes with a retractable roof, ideal for Nordic cruises or when it’s a bit colder or when it’s raining. It’s a heated pool which felt more like a grand jacuzzi.
One of the unique features onboard is the infinity pool at the aft of the ship. Views while hanging on the edge of this pool are amazing while sailing at sea.
The Spa is Top Notch. It’s a beautiful Nordic-inspired spa with sauna, steam room, heated pool, whirlpool and even a snow grotto with powdery snow falling down from the ceiling. Access to the spa or thermal suite is complimentary to all passengers.
It’s one of the most beautiful spa’s we have ever seen on a cruise ship. Bathrope, slippers and towels are provided in the changing rooms.
Food and Dining
On Viking Cruises, complimentary red and white wine, as well as beer and soft drinks are offered during lunch and dinner. Dinner attire is smart casual, so a jacket is never required. Viking Orion offers different dining options.
The main traditional dining room is “The Restaurant” on deck 2. A la carté menu service for breakfast, lunch and dinner is served here. Service and food were very good and the restaurant was never crowded. There were no waiting lines and plenty of tables for two. We loved the modern streamlined Scandinavian design of the restaurant. Every day the menu also includes 3 regional cuisine dishes.
Desserts were always intriguing and enjoyable. Had the best cheesecake ever on Viking Orion.
World Cafe is Orion’s buffet restaurant at the aft of the ship. It’s quite large with plenty of seating available and a buffet area on each side of the ship. Unlike on other ships we never had a problem to find a table. In good weather, we enjoyed eating outdoors on the aft deck (Aquavit Terrace).
Dining options on the Orion includes 2 specialty restaurants. There is no extra charge, only you have to make reservations.
The Chef’s Table
Our favorite was “The Chef’s Table”, located on Deck 1 aft. The degustation menu here offers five nicely decorated plates with fine, tasty dishes. Portions are small, and every dish is accompanied with an adapted wine. A new menu is served every three days. We had our best dinner here. Big compliments to the chef !
We enjoyed a five-course menu called “Sweet & Salty”, which maximized our dining pleasure highlighting the tastes sweet and salty in every dish through witty pairings.
Our menu started with a amuse bouche “Tomato & Watermelon Gazpacho” followed by our first course “Grilled Scallop” with beets and passion fruit. A nice cold second course, “Prosciutto & Melon” was followed by our delicious main course “Veal Tenderloin” which was served with pumpkin and red onion marmalade.
We ended our wonderful dinner with “Strawberry & Basil Delight”, a Grand Marnier Bavarian cream accompanied by a basil jelly and strawberry sauce, finished with black Hawaiian lava salt.
Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant
Manfredi’s is Viking Orion’s Italian restaurant, and in our opinion the most elegant restaurant onboard. As in all other restaurants, there are plenty of tables for two. All sorts of Italian dishes with freshly made pasta are served here. It is located also on deck 1 on the starboard side, across the ship from The Chef’s Table. Personally I had the best Tiramisu ever in Manfredi’s.
We only had one opportunity to dine in Manfredi’s and The Chef’s Table on our seven-night Mediterranean cruise. Every guest onboard has the opportunity to experience both restaurants, so Viking limits the number of times guests can dine in their specialty restaurants.
Reservations can be made on the ship or online prior of your cruise. It depends in which stateroom category you are staying how far in advance and the number of reservations you can make. For example guests staying in a larger suite can book two dinners. In general reservations can be made 60 days in advance of the voyage.
Mamsen’s, located in the Explorer’s Lounge at the most forward portion of Deck 7. Mamsen’s serves a variety of Norwegian specialties such as smoked salmon sandwishes, Scandinavian pastries and beef tartare. Waffles with fresh strawberries are served here for breakfast, it’s also one of the early riser options (6:30 AM). In the evening you can enjoy a tapas platter while listening to romantic piano music.
Another option for early risers is the Viking Bar on deck 1, serving an array of breakfast pastries. At lunch time, snack food is served until mid-afternoon. Viking Bar is actually the ship’s coffee bar, serving the best coffee onboard.
True foodies looking for an unique dining experience can reserve a spot at The Kitchen Table for $199 per person. It is very exclusive and is only offered once per cruise.
There is also a poolside grill serving burgers, hot dogs, fries, salads and other snacks. Perfect spot for poolside lunch or afternoon snack. Room service is available all day, every day as well.
Wintergarden and Lanai
Lovely airy, bright venues filled with Scandinavian furniture. The comfortable seating areas are great for reading a book, to rest a while or enjoy the nice sea views. Classic tradition afternoon tea is served here at 4pm. There is a wide variety of fresh teas. A tiered tray of delicious sandwiches, desserts and warm scones is served to each table.
Bars and lounges include Torshavn, entertainment lounge with live music and dance venue in the evening, the pool bar by the main pool, the Theater Bar, the Viking Bar, and the Explorers’ Lounge. The lounge areas were very nice and had many seperate cosy areas to sit.
Located at the front of the ship, and scaling two floors, the Explorers’ Lounge is the favorite spot by many passengers I spoke onboard. It’s a great place to just watch the sunset or enjoy a pre dinner drink. Located on the top level is the unique high-tech planetarium, called Explorer’s Dome.
Do not expect lavish stage shows, the theatre is too small for this. However there are small production shows. On our voyage there were two female and two male singers, which were professional and delightful. You can also enjoy individual musicians or small classical groups for example.
Orion is Viking’s first ship with an Explorers’ Dome, a planetarium-like theater or astrological domed theatre used for special presentations. With only a capacity of 26 seats, be sure to get tickets (complimentary) at guest services the first or second day to see at least one of the two shows offered here, “Journey to Space” or “Under the Arctic Sky”. It’s an unique experience, 3D glasses are provided. Be sure to bring a sweater of jacket as the Dome is kept very cool at all times due to the projectors. A blanket is provided as well.
There was a Resident Astronomer onboard on our sailing, hosting lectures about the universe and the cosmos. A fun thing to do was “Stargazing”, when we joined Howard Parking, the Viking Resident Astronomer, on the upper deck to observe the International Space Station as it crosses the night sky. The Astronomer was also pointing out different constellations and several planets such as Jupiter, Venus, Saturn and Mars.
For guests who don’t like tendering, we had a relaxed tender experience. Tender boats are spacious with large windows on either side. You don’t have a cramped feeling on a tender ride.
Staff and Crew
After being on so many cruises and different cruiselines, I can honestly say the crew on Viking Orion is one of the best crews with which we have ever sailed. The Viking staff is wonderful ! All of them were so friendly, not stressed and you can see everyone working on the ship really loves their job. Everyone of the staff had a smile of their face and greeted us when we passed by.
Karl Eckl, the General Manager, was making everyone feel welcome, was always smiling and present throughout the ship.
We were totally impressed with the ship, accommodations and the technology of the vessel and of course the fantastic crew. The ship never seems crowded despite 900+ fellow passengers. We definitely would love to go back on another Viking ship. It was a very elegant 5 star experience!
Viking Orion YES / NO List