Viking Cruises' latest oceangoing ship, Viking Neptune, makes its debut in 2022. When it sets sail, it will be the company's ninth oceangoing ship, and the direct successor to 2021's Viking Mars.
The ship is not the first, however, to bear the name Viking Neptune. One of Viking's river cruise ships launched in 2001 formerly carried the name before it was retired after the debut of the modern Viking Longships.
As a ship, Viking Neptune will vary little from mold cast by 2015's Viking Star. Viking's debut oceangoing vessel was lauded for its interior décor, spacious public rooms, and comfortable, charming staterooms, all of which offer private balconies.
Like its sisters, Viking Neptune is also notable for what passengers won't find onboard. Don’t expect pushy photographers, art auctions, photo galleries, or even a casino onboard -- none of Viking's vessels have these. Instead, expect an experience that is geared towards adults more likely to curl up with a good book on-deck than those looking for a 24/7 party atmosphere.
As with other Viking ships, Viking Neptune is an adults-only vessel. The line reserves the right to refuse to carry passengers under 18 years of age.
Dining is a real event aboard Viking's ships, running the gamut from a casual buffet (albeit the most delicious and classy buffet you can get on the high seas) to Viking's sumptuous, and complimentary, specialty restaurants.
The Restaurant offers up breakfast, lunch and dinner in a casually-elegant setting, where every table is within sight of the room's floor-to-ceiling windows, which can open electronically when conditions allow to let in fresh air from the adjacent promenade deck.
One deck below, on Deck 1, are a trio of dining options that are complimentary but must be reserved in advance.
The Chef's Table offers a selection of rotating menus reflecting different culinary cultures and tastes. These can be paired with a complimentary or premium (additional-fee) selection of wines chosen specially for the menu on offer.
On the starboard side of the vessel is Manfredi's, an Italian eatery on-par with what passengers would expect on a luxury line. Little wonder, too: Manfredi's is named after Viking Chairman and CEO Torstein Hagen's industry friend, Silversea Cruises executive Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio.
The Kitchen Table is the ship's most exclusive option: an interactive cooking class and demonstration inset into its own galley in the center of the ship. While the food is superb, the interior location means there are no exterior views from this room.
Cruisers shouldn't discount the poolside Grill, which serves up some of the tastiest burgers at sea. Ditto for Mamsen's, nestled within the entrance to the Explorers' Lounge. By morning, heart-shaped waffles are served up along with a variety of Norwegian delights culled from the Hagen family cookbook. Afternoons see open-faced sandwiches and light desserts. Cruisers will want to wait for 10 p.m. each night, when Mamsen's serves up warming split pea soup to hungry passengers in what is one of the ship's best-kept secrets.
Complimentary, round-the-clock room service is also available in all cabin categories.
Cabins aboard Viking Neptune are uniformly excellent. All offer full step-out balconies, and blissfully few have any sort of obstructed view at all (with a few exceptions).
While rooms are mostly identical, advances in cabin grade add additional living space along with other perks. Viking bases its onboard amenities on cabin grade, so paying a bit more for a larger cabin can also entitle passengers to board earlier, reserve shore excursions and dining options sooner, and add little niceties like complimentary mini-bars with either soft drinks or alcohol and soft drinks that are replenished either daily or per voyage, depending on cabin grade.
Wraparound suites are located both forward and aft and offers some of the most extravagant amenities onboard. Those looking for a more nautical view (read: little scenery) may want to check out Explorers Suites 3000 and 3001, both of which directly overlook the ship's bow, though fully unobstructed views are offered from side windows on these spacious suites.
A single Owner's Suite is situated on the starboard side of Deck 7, just aft of Mamsen's. It comes equipped with separate living and sleeping areas, and a private sauna, and is adjacent to a large conference room that borders the Explorer's Lounge. When not in use by passengers, it is often occupied by Viking chairman Torstein Hagen himself.
Up top, Viking Neptune offers plenty of open deck space, along with a hidden area for relaxation up by the vessel's radar mast. Past ships have featured outdoor gym equipment in this space; no word yet on whether Viking Neptune will do likewise.
The ship offers a midship pool and hot tub area underneath a retractable glass magrodome cover, while an aft-facing infinity pool is located at the stern of the ship, surrounding the outdoor seating for Viking's trademark Aquavit Terrace.
Also noteworthy is the sheer amount of open deck space. Hardly a single upper-deck doesn't offer considerably vantage points for scenic cruising.
Cerebral pleasures are the order of the day aboard Viking Neptune -- though that doesn't mean forgoing fun. Lectures and informative itinerary-specific presentations are offered in The Theatre, which also hosts full-scale production shows most evenings.
Movies are offered in The Theatre (which is equipped with a full-scale theatre sound system; a refreshing change from the lackluster theatre sound systems on most cruise ships), or up on deck poolside, where passengers can enjoy movies under the stars while listening to the soundtrack on wireless Bose headphones.
Games, puzzles and books are featured liberally throughout the ship. Evenings onboard see musicians performing in the Living Room Lobby and the Explorers' Lounge, while a jazz and blues band kicks things up a notch in the clubby venue, Torshavn -- the latter also doubling as a repository for fine vintage Armagnacs at sea.
Unlike some Viking ocean ships, Viking Neptune will not have a planetarium onboard.
Viking Neptune will kick off its inaugural year by operating Viking's 2022-2023 World Cruise, a 138-day journey from Fort Lauderdale to London, England departing on December 22, 2022.
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