Cruising with Viking Ocean: Bermuda Escape Review
Viking is my favorite cruise line out there. The ships are stunningly beautiful, the food is some of the finest, and the destinations are incredible. Pair this with the best customer service around and you simply cannot beat venturing on a Viking ship. I've cruised with them many times before in Europe but I was thrilled to check out the tropical Bermuda Escape with Viking Ocean Cruises.
The Bermuda trip with Viking Cruise sails around the small island of Bermuda. We took a flight from Dallas, stopped in New York, and landed in Bermuda for our 7 day trip.
What I love about cruising is how it really feels, more than anything else, like a true vacation. You unpack once, have entertainment, delicious food at your beck and call, and the excursions are just outside your door. Viking offers many different choices for excursions and I always feel like I get to learn and explore as much as I want!
I don't have to research hotels, museums, or even restaurants! Traveling is a wonderful experience, but it can be stressful. There are so many pieces to the puzzle, with Viking you simply book and can rest knowing everything is ready for you.
Health and Safety Measures for Cruising with Viking
In order to set sail, Viking has taken as many safety precautions as possible for their ship, staff, and passengers. Everyone on board must be fully vaccinated 2 weeks prior to departure. There are also Covid tests taken every single day. There's actually a full-scale laboratory installed on every Viking ship and every day you will take a non-invasive saliva PCR test. There's air purification throughout the ship, temperature checks before each meal, and hand washing stations throughout. The ship is already spotlessly clean but there are even more measures in place to keep it clean.
I personally felt extremely safe as did my fellow passengers.
The Viking Orion
Viking river and ocean cruises differ in a few ways, mainly, the aesthetics of the ship. But you can find the same level of class and service on both, which means it's some of the best! The ship itself is elegant and beautiful. Clean designs match with the supreme Norwegian visual appeal.
I've traveled with Viking on their ocean fleet before, and I am happy to say the experience was just as lovely!
Everything on board is easy and seamless. The ship offers so many dining options, places to relax, play games, enjoy the ocean, bars, and more.
The ship is sprinkled with traces of Norway (where the company's founder is from) throughout the ship such as the reindeer hides, the lichen garden beneath the stairs, secret trolls drawn into the bamboo wall design when you take the elevator, and efficient design of the space on board.
The Explorer's Lounge makes you feel like your embarking on one of the famous sea fairing expeditions that expanded our world's horizons. It features constellations that light up as the sun sets and feels as if you're setting off on a brand new journey. There is also a library and a bar here, as well as daily trivia.
Right by the entrance to the Lounge is Mamsen's. This is the best spot for traditional Norwegian waffles with sweet cheese. Try it!
In the Wintergarden you can enjoy daily tea in the beautiful sunlight. You'll find beautiful decorative details like depictions of ravens. According to Norwegian folklore, the ravens gather information and truth. Viking exploration motifs are also represented in the metalwork throughout.
There is an auditorium for entertainment, the Star Theater, I especially loved the ABBA themed night, and also educational lectures. These are INCREDIBLE. Sincerely one of the reasons to book with Viking. The lectures discuss things you might come across during your travels, but also discuss the history of the Vikings. There are artifacts on board and throughout the ship. There's even a museum on board! Basically, there is enrichment everywhere which adds even more value and meaning to your vacation.
There is also an indoor and outdoor pool for your enjoyment, a lounge, gym, plenty of cozy areas to lounge, read, and so much more!
Viking is an experience, and the service is outstanding. The staff works so hard and they are so happy. Truly one of the best feelings ever! They will provide anything you need and do it with a smile. They get to know you, your name, and even your preferences.
There are so many exquisite details on-board the ship, you just have to experience it for yourself!
Benefits of Viking
What I love about Viking is the precision of detail and level of service. There are no hidden costs. While Viking is certainly not a budget option, it's inclusive with dining, wine and beer, and even experiences.
- Every room has its own private balcony, so you'll be able to enjoy the sea from every angle.
- There are several restaurants to choose from, including Italian, fine dining, buffet, classic grill, local cuisine, and premium cuisine with wine pairing. This is all included in the price of your trip and it's well worth it.
- The cleaning crew comes twice a day – you'll wake up and go to sleep feeling clean.
- Rooms have outlets for American plugs as well as European, so you won't have to worry about which adapters to bring.
- Complimentary guided tours included at every port.
- Ships are small enough to get into more hard to reach ports.
- Ships are large enough that you always have space and room to roam and enjoy what activities you like.
- Free WiFi on board
- Flatscreen TVs in your room with tons of movies, TV, and even special programs developed by Viking (I LOVE these!).
- You can book everything online and have access to your itinerary via your TV or the Viking app.
- The enrichment programs alone to make me want to come back again and again
The room on board Viking is spacious, comfortable, and has a wonderful balcony! I especially love the bathroom. It's well equipped and the shower is large.
Viking Bermuda Itinerary
Viking takes care of EVERYTHING! As soon as we arrived to the airport, we saw the familiar Viking red crew ushering us to the bus that would take us to the ship. From here on out, we didn't have to think!
Once on board, we didn't have to wait at all for the on-boarding process. We had a very quick one-on-one to go over safety precautions and where to meet in case of emergency. We got life vest instructions and then were whisked to our rooms. This was incredible and so different from other experiences I've had where you gather in mass groups and listen to safety procedures.
On our first day on board we enjoyed a late lunch at the Pool Grill which is open from 2-5pm. You can find burgers, salads, sandwiches, and fries. If you're craving American classics, this is the perfect spot. Don't miss out on the delectable frozen drinks offered here!
After exploring the boat and listening to that evening's Port Talk to learn about what was offered the next day along with information about Bermuda, we went to dinner at World Cafe.
World Cafe offers a myriad of specialty food that's different each day along with some classic staples. This is more of a laid-back atmosphere that is buffet style. This also means you don't need to dress up! I'm always astonished at the incredible food options like fresh sushi and new flavors of gelato each day!
Before heading to bed we learned more about the island of Bermuda we were going to explore. One of the coolest things we learned is that the white roofs in Bermuda help collect precious rain water.
We were docked at Hamilton, Bermuda which gave us a beautiful view of the town below. Hamilton is full of lovely buildings as well as beautiful parks set against the island foliage.
Bermuda is an archipelago and it’s the most northern spot in the world to find coral reefs. Discovered by Spanish in 1503, but colonized 100 years later.
We headed to Mamsen's for waffles in a beautifully lit lounge with a perfect view of the sea. Then we headed off the ship for our first excursion of the day. We like to pack in as much as possible and often do multiple excursions. But it's up to you! You can have a more laid back experience or choose to do as many activities as you like, both with Viking or on your own!
We did an E-Bike tour, my first ever! We explored the converted railway trail which offered incredible views of the shockingly clear, blue water. This was a great way to get a good idea of Bermuda, see the homes up-close, and get a brief overview of the island.
For our second tour of the day, we opted for “Famous Homes and Hideaways.” You board a smaller ship to go into inlets, coves, and get up close and personal with the famous dwellers of the island.
We learned that Bermuda is one of the most expensive places to live in the world, mostly because everything must be imported. Their number one industry is tourism.
Their famous homeowners include Catherine Zeta Jones & Michael Douglas. John Lennon wrote his last album “Double Fantasy” here and Mark Twain was know to say “When you die you go to heaven, when I go, I go to Bermuda.”
To conclude our day we went to a fascinating lecture on the Bermuda Triangle. I've heard so many rumors over the years and this helped make sense of the fear surrounding the mystery.
Day three was spent at sea! I love these days because it gives me a chance to relax and unwind. And I took those duties very seriously.
I started my morning with an incredible massage at the spa. I recommend you get a reservation in advance, as they can fill up, especially on days you're at sea.
We went to a few different lectures including one on pirates and treasure hunters which was particularly interesting to hear the myths of pirates and how they become wrapped up in intrigue and romance. Then we attended a lecture with the Resident Astronomer on “How Big is Space.” This was an incredible talk that really opened my eyes!
Swimming in the outdoor pool while the ship is moving makes you feel like you're out to sea! It's paneled with glass and gives a great overlook on to the ocean.
We capped off the day by heading to the top deck to play some shuffleboard. Then headed for a sunset dinner at The Restaurant. This is the more formal dining option where you order specials off the menu that day. This is open daily for both dinner and breakfast and occasionally lunch. I dined on decadent rissotto while Michael enjoyed steak.
We docked today at the British Royal Naval dockyard. Here we learned so much about England and their stronghold here for two centuries. During both World Wars this dockyard was a strategic staging point for the Allies and their merchant vessels. Today it's called the King's Wharf and you can find museums, shops, and a historic Clocktower mall.
We went on a tour of the Royal Naval Dockyards that was highly interesting. I learned that Bermuda was a navigational market and there was no habitation until 1612 when the English came.
When people think of Bermuda they often think of the “Bermuda Triangle.” This is a 20th century pop culture phenomenon. And while it's based in some fact, some ships have gone missing, it's mostly untrue.
One of the most fascinating things I heard on the tour was that Shakespeare's “The Tempest” is based on the Bermuda shipwreck! The Sea Venture was a 17th century English sailing ship and the third in a party to head from England to Jamestown in the USA. But on the way, in 1609, it wrecked in Bermuda. The colonists were on the Bermuda shores for 10 months, reconstructed a ship, and sailed to the USA almost exactly one year to the day they were supposed to land! The news of this made it back to England and the story was sensationalized and influenced Shakespeare!
This, right here, is why I travel. I was so excited to learn so much history about not only the past, but things that are part of our life in the present! This is what truly makes Viking stand out to me.
For our second excursion we went on a catamaran to go snorkeling! This was our first of 2 different snorkeling adventures and it is the best way to get a view of the stunning coral and colorful fish. The neon fish make a striking scene as they flit through the crystal blue water.
That evening we had dinner at the Italian restaurant on board Viking, the very popular Manfredi's. This is top notch Italian food with ingredients flown in from Italy! They are famous for their Florentine steak but I always opt for the decadent homemade pasta.
Today we went on another snorkeling adventure off the coast of Bermuda. The island is home to a few ship wrecks and we can snorkel over them to see some of the wreckage. Also, Bermuda has some of the healthiest coral reef systems because of its isolated location and the laws have been in place since the 1960s.
We sailed about 30 minutes out to sea to snorkel the wrecks, and see the multi-colored fish such as Parrot and Blue Headed Wrass.
We spent the second half of our day taking an excursion of our own and heading to one of Bermuda's most famous beaches: Horseshoe Beach. This is known for its gorgeous pink sand!
The rough waves that day made for an epic sight as they crashed over the black craggy rocks and splashing against the light pink sand.
In the early evening we dined in the Wintergarden for tea, seriously one of my favorite things on board! I love the scones with cream and jam and the pastries are a work of art. Plus there's a huge selection of tea to choose from.
To cap off the evening we headed to the Star Theater to watch the Musical Journey of the “Top of the Pops” spanning 20 years of music. The 4 performers are lively and entertaining and there's no shortage of fun on board.
If you didn't want to go to the Star Theater there's also an onboard guitarist that's also an excellent singer performing most nights at the Explorer's Lounge. There's also brilliant classical music- a duo of a singer and violinist in the Atrium. And a pianist that performs classics in the Atrium as well.
A day at sea was just what I needed! The day was filled with taking in lectures and checking out delectable dining options.
The Chef's Table is a fine dining experience unlike any other restaurant on board. It's a sensory delight with a set menu and numerous courses. The cuisine is inspired by a certain region or cuisine style, such as Norwegian, Chinese, or sweet and salty. Every couple of days, the menu is swapped out so you can sample all of the options.
The theme this evening was “Mexico” and I was delighted with all the unique food and wine.
After our meal we strolled around the ship and listened to the waves. There are two areas to walk around the ship, with one being a bit more covered. Since it was windy we headed there. It's a great place to unwind.
Torshavn is an under-appreciated feature of the ship. This lounge bar has some of the best cocktails and bar staff you can find. The onboard guitarist is usually here in the evening to serenade guests. Tonight we opted for a martini tasting. There is an additional charge but it's well worth it! You get to learn how to craft, and drink, a variety of delicious martinis. It's in a small group setting and so much fun to learn.
We watched a presentation in the planetarium – yes! There is really a planetarium on board! We went to a few on this trip and they are always so entertaining and informative.
Today we wanted to focus on the lectures offered on board Viking and were in for a real treat! First we heard from Viking's resident Historian on the Bayeux Tapestry – this is a major feature on the ship as larger than life images of the detailed work of the tapestry are blown up and shown on the staircases. You'll find that feature throughout the Viking Ocean ships. Viking actually uses the color palette on the tapestry throughout the ship.
I've been lucky enough to see the tapestry in Bayeux, France but getting to learn about it was so illuminating. The cloth was embroidered nearly 1,000 years ago and is still in-tact today. It chronicles the Norman Conquest of England, the Battle of Hastings in 1066, the death of England's king, Harold, and William the Conqueror's seizure of power. After the lecture, for those that wanted, we actually got to walk the ship to see the tapestry imagery through the vessel and the meaning behind each feature.
The history lectures offered onboard discuss things you might come across while traveling, about the area you're visiting and of the Vikings and how it impacts our own history. There's no shortage of enrichment on board.
After our day of learning we knew that our time was soon coming to an end. We attended the Viking Farewell Reception and toasted with champagne. Then listened to the onboard performers sing the Beatles Songbook with some of the best hits and classics from the legendary band.
Of course, Viking makes it easy to disembark! We had a leisurely breakfast at the Restaurant where Michael was delighted to have lamb chops and I feasted on fresh fruit, eggs, and a pastry.
We grabbed our belongings and waved goodbye to the ship. It couldn't have been easier!
We had a bit of time before our flight so we headed to St. George's, settled in 1612 this was the place of the first English settlement. You can still see remnants of the old settlement with the beautiful, colorful buildings.
We headed to a perfumer, Stewart Hall, a beautiful “unfinished church,” and gazed at the beautiful pink Oleander flowers that dot the landscape set against the bright blue water.
Viking Cruises isn't just a cruise line. There's a story, a family, and history behind it. You simply can't beat Viking when it comes to service, attention to detail, or the genuine luxury experience. Viking Cruises goes out of its way to make every aspect of your journey worthwhile. You will be delighted you booked!