For first-timers, our advice on packing for a Viking Ocean Cruise…
Preparing for any trip involves planning—as well as careful pruning:
Not only do you need to figure out what to take but you need to determine what NOT to take.
To do a good job, don’t wait until the last minute. Try to think through where you’ll be, what you’ll be doing, and make lists as reminders to guide your packing.
The perils of overpacking
Cramming too much in your suitcase increases the odds of incurring additional airline fees for oversized or overweight checked bags. Heavy bags are tricky to manage, too. As we age, carrying and lifting suitcases can exact a toll on back and shoulder muscles.
Once onboard, it can be difficult to easily stow an overpacked bag under your bed. Although there is ample storage space onboard Viking Ocean Cruises, bringing too much stuff only makes it harder to sift through your belongings to find what you want.
Oops…I left it home
Of course, there is a downside to extreme minimalism or sloppy packing. Perhaps, you’ll leave your sunglasses or swimsuit home, or will forget to bring a sweater for chilly evenings.
A few years ago, we were on a shoulder season cruise in the Mediterranean. I could have kicked myself for leaving my swimsuit at home when the weather unexpectedly turned warm and sunny! It was impossible to find one to my liking in the department store in Marseille—although I tried.
Packing too little means you may have to do without, or pay the price of purchasing (and finding) replacements while traveling for things you already have at home.
What NOT to take
Here is our advice on six things definitely NOT to take:
1) NO formal evening attire
There are no formal nights on Viking so there’s no need for long dresses for women or dinner jackets for men (even neckties are discretionary). Instead the dress code is “elegant casual,” which can mean anything from a sundress in the Caribbean—to slacks and a blouse for women cruising in colder climates.
In fact, there are few hardfast rules for evening dress except to limit shorts and workout attire to daytime use only. Male passengers generally opt for trousers and a collared shirt (short or long-sleeved) in the evening, generally without a sports jacket or tie. A black colored polo shirt is always great look for men.
2) NO hair dryer
Every ocean (or rivership) we’ve ever been on has had a hair dryer tucked in a drawer or closet (although you often have to search for them). I loved the Braun Satin Hair model in my Viking Ocean stateroom so much that I would like to purchase a similar model for home use.
Straightening or curling irons are another story. Neither hotels nor cruise ships have caught up with the popularity of these hair tools. So if you depend on them, bring your own. Make sure you bring a European-style adapters for the plugs, and that the tools can run on 220V current (for use near the makeup table in your cabin).
3) No adapters
Electrical outlets in Viking Ocean staterooms run on either 110V and 220V so there is no need to bring other adapters—even though you’ll be visiting different countries.
In each cabin, there are two 110V sockets above the desk and one on each side of the bed. There are also USB ports to charge your cellphone or tablet so all you need to bring are the cables.
4) No shampoo or conditioner
Shampoo and conditioner have to be packed extra carefully when you’re flying because these liquids can easily leak onto your belongings and are subject to TSA 3-1-1 rules if you bring them in a carryon.
Unless you are wed to a particular product, there is no need to bring shampoo or conditioner onboard with you. Viking Ocean Cruises provides lovely Freyja shampoo and conditioner (designed exclusively for Viking) in nice, easy-to-handle sizes (rather than mini-bottles). Also note: They come with large print labeling so those over 40 don’t need to take their peepers into the shower.
Leave the body lotion, shower gel and shower cap at home as well; they are also provided by the cruise line and replenished as needed.
No need to bring any foodstuffs because you’ll never be hungry. Aside from three meals a day, snacks are always accessible– whether you miss a meal, wake up late, or simply have a craving between meal hours.
Mamsen’s is a small Norwegian-style counter tucked in the beautiful Explorer’s Lounge on Deck 7, serving small plates with dishes like smoked salmon, steak tartare and shrimp salad and Norwegian waffles. The Pool Grill serves up burgers, hotdogs and salads throughout the afternoon. The Viking Bar on Deck 1 has sweets and savories available through midnight. And there’s an extensive Room Service menu available at no extra charge 24 hours a day.
6) No umbrella
Viking has thought of that, too. You’ll find two large red umbrellas in your stateroom that you can use if the weather is inclement.
You’ll find some additional cruising tips in our previous article on MoreTimeToTravel:
IF YOU GO
Also on MoreTimeToTravel:
Disclosure: We were invited guests of Viking Ocean Cruises but any opinions expressed in this post are our own.