Packing For A Viking Ocean Cruise: What NOT To Pack

Suitcase (credit: Pixabay)

For first-timers packing for a Viking ocean cruise, our advice:

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. 

Tips for pruning before packing for a Viking ocean cruise:

  1. Don’t wait until the last minute.
  2. Think through where you’ll be, what you’ll be doing, and what you’ll wear.
  3. Make lists as reminders to guide your packing.

The perils of overpacking for a Viking ocean cruise or any ocean cruise

Cramming too much in your suitcase increases the odds of 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 our back and shoulder muscles.

Once onboard, it can be difficult to stow an overpacked bag under your bed easily. Although there is ample storage space onboard Viking Ocean Cruises, bringing too much stuff makes it harder to sift through your belongings to stay organized and find what you want.

Another reason you can travel light: Viking Ocean ships have self-service laundry facilities on decks 3, 4, 5, and 6, and depending on your stateroom category, laundry and dry cleaning services may be complimentary. You do not have to bring detergent as it is available for guests in the self-service laundries.

So master the art of packing light! In fact, you might want to think about assembling a travel capsule wardrobe.

Oops…I left it home

Of course, there is a downside to taking minimalism to the extreme or packing sloppily. Perhaps you’ll leave your sunglasses or swimsuit at home or forget to bring a sweater for chilly evenings.

We were on a shoulder season cruise in the Mediterranean a few years ago. 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.

Packing for a Viking Ocean Cruise: What NOT to pack

Here is our advice on eight things you should definitely NOT take when packing for a Viking Ocean Cruise:

1) NO formal evening attire

When packing for a Viking Ocean Cruise, you don't have to bring formal wear like this red gown.
Photo credit: Pixabay

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 for dinner is “elegant casual,” meaning anything from a sundress in the Caribbean—to slacks and a blouse for women cruising in colder climates.

There are few hard-fast rules for evening dress on the ship 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 (my husband likes the Ralph Lauren slim shirt) is always a great look for men. 

I rarely take precious jewelry on any cruise. It’s something to worry about losing, and fanciful costume jewelry is just as much fun!

Read my post on Travel Jewelry: What To Take and What Not To Take

Similarly, do not bring high heels. Bring comfortable walking or athletic shoes because you’ll be doing a lot of walking each day.

2) NO hairdryer

Braun Hair Dryer on Viking Star (Photo credit: Jerome Levine)
Braun Hair Dryer on Viking Star (Photo credit: Jerome Levine)

Every ocean (or river ship) we’ve ever been on has had a hairdryer tucked in a drawer or closet (although you often have to search for them).

You definitely don’t need to bring one. I loved the Braun Satin Hair model in my Viking Ocean stateroom so much that I wanted to purchase one after I got home. I searched high and low without success; perhaps, the compact model is only sold in Europe.

If you are planning a cruise extension or simply want to bring your own, one of my favorite travel hairdryers is the BaByliss Pro. It’s super compact, has dual voltage, and is extremely lightweight. 

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.

The only exception to the no-adapter rule below is to bring European-style adapters for the plugs, and any hair tool you bring runs on 220V current (for use near the makeup table in your cabin).

3) No adapters

Bedside outlets on Viking Star
Bedside outlets on Viking Star (Credit: Jerome Levine)

Electrical outlets in Viking Ocean staterooms run on either 110V and 220V, so when packing for a Viking Ocean Cruise, there is no need to bring other adapters—even though you’ll be visiting different countries.

Each cabin has 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.

If you travel with a lot of electronics and want to bring a power strip with. you, you might want to take a look at the Addtam power strip (available on Amazon)It has a clever design that won’t take up unnecessary space. This is especially handy on cruise ships where nightstands tend to be small.

The AC outlets are spaced extra wide with 2.4 inches between them, much larger than the standard 1.5-inch socket. This makes it work well with the bulky adapters that come with laptops and other electronic gadgets.

Although compact it has three regular outlets, four USB ports (2 of them USB C) and offers no-surge protection.

Because my husband and I have Apple watches, we bring a charging station that charges our iPhones and watches. It’s light, compact, and fits on the night table (we bring one charging station to share). I’ve tried several brands, including the one from Apple (the Apple MagSafe Duo), and I prefer the STM ChargeTree Go, which is available from Amazon.   

4) No shampoo or conditioner

What not to bring when packing for a Viking Ocean Cruise: Freyja Toiletries are stocked on Viking Ocean Cruises
Freyja Toiletries on Viking Ocean Cruises (Credit: Jerome Levine)

Shampoo and conditioner must 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 carry-on.

Unless you are wed to a particular product, you don’t need to bring shampoo or conditioner onboard. Viking Ocean Cruises provides lovely Freyja toiletries (including shampoo and conditioner) that are designed exclusively for Viking in convenient, easy-to-handle sizes (rather than mini-bottles). (The Nordic skincare brand is named after Freyja, the Norse goddess of love, beauty, fertility, divination and magic.)

Also note: The toiletries on Viking come with large print labeling so those over the age of 40 don’t need to take their peepers into the shower.

Leave the soap, body lotion, shower gel, and shower cap at home as well. They are also provided by the cruise line and replenished as needed. (If you are addicted to bar soap, you’ll need to bring one with you.)

5) No snacks

Norwegian Waffle at Mamsen's (Credit: Jerome Levine)
Norwegian Waffle at Mamsen’s (Credit: Jerome Levine)

When packing for a Viking Ocean Cruise, there is 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 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 an extensive Room Service menu is available at no extra charge 24 hours a day.

If you think you may be tempted to bring snacks back to the ship after a cruise excursion, do remember to pack a few Ziploc bags to stow them. I find the quart-size bags to be the most versatile. (You never know where you might find a special type of chocolate:-)

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.

Packing for a Viking Ocean Cruise: Umbrellas on the Viking Star (Photo credit: Jerome Levine)
Umbrellas on the Viking Star (Photo credit: Jerome Levine)

7) No beach towels

No need for bringing bulky beach towels or taking sand home
No need for bringing bulky beach towels or taking sand home

Whether you plan to swim onboard or take an excursion to a beach, you won’t need to bring beach towels from home.

You’ll find beach towels near the pool areas and in bins by the security exit before disembarking.

If you’ve booked an excursion that might call for beach towels, a crew member often places towels on your bed the night before.

8) No expensive jewelry

Diamond ring
Diamond ring

Yes, you’ll have an in-room safe in your stateroom, but why have to worry about jewelry getting lost or attracting thieves at ports?

Whenever I travel, I leave expensive pieces at home and opt for travel jewelry, fake pieces that look like the real thing.

Will my luggage be searched on a Viking cruise?

When you board your ship, carry-on and checked luggage are examined with an X-ray machine. Your carry-on will be placed on a X-ray conveyer when you board. Inspection of checked luggage takes place after it arrives on the ship.

Your luggage will be searched only if the crew spots any dangerous or prohibited items. If you are unsure about whether something is permitted, check out this PDF from Viking outlining Prohibited Items for Luggage Loading.

This post was so popular that I recently posted a complementary piece:


You’ll find some additional cruising tips in previous articles on MoreTimeToTravel:


Viking Ocean Cruises

Viking Luggage Tag (Credit: Jerome Levine)


  • We have been invited guests of Viking Ocean Cruises but any opinions expressed in this post are our own.
  • This post includes affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases

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  1. You got me on #1, 3 and 6! I thought formal/dressy was the norm on all cruise ships! Guess not. Oh not to bring adapters! More room in my suitcase! And finally the umbrella. My travel one is small but having not to bring one would be great. Super post, Irene.

  2. I’m bring my hair styling tool and want to plug it in to 110v in the bathroom. Will the ship have a adapter for me for the bathroom or is there a 110v plug in there? Thanks

    1. I suggest that you call Viking Cruises to make sure—but if I recollect correctly, although there were ample 100V outlets, you may not be able to use any appliance in the bathroom except for an electric shaver. Depending on your stateroom, you will probably have a desk or dressing table with a 100v outlet where you can fix your hair.

      Have a great time on your cruise!

  3. I have been told by friends who sail on other lines that I will need a lanyard and pouch to carry ID and room keys, we did not on Viking River Cruises, do we on the ocean cruise?

    1. Hi Robin,

      Your room key is your ID. It is required each time you get off and on the ship. I usually carry a small purse with that and my phone and a small amount of cash. On the ship, you only need the ID, which you can tuck into a pocket. Some people do prefer lanyards but it’s not necessary.

      Hope this helps!

    2. I’m going on a Viking River Cruise (Paris-Normandy). I wasn’t sure whether or not to bring my usual cruise lanyard and hole punch?

      1. Hi Rachel,

        Up to you. Not too many passengers use them but it’s light enough to take along in case you want to:-) the only use would be getting on and off the ship.
        Bon voyage!


  4. I really don’t want to bring any shampoo but I’m supposed to use phosphate free. I can’t find any info on Fteyja that gives me that info. HELP !!

    1. Jan Lee, I would definitely bring yours, I didn’t on our last Viking cruise and as great as their stuff is, it stripped the color.enjoy your trip.

  5. In our documents from Viking regarding our river cruise in France, it says curling irons and flat irons are prohibited. Has anyone dealt with thus recently? My hair is very unruly and I am mortified at the thought of no heat styling tools! 18 days and counting:)

    1. HI Shelley,

      I found this online on the VIking Cruises Q&A site (I couldn’t find a similar statement specific to ocean cruises):

      What Is The Electrical Voltage In The Stateroom? What Kind Of Converters Will I Need For My Computer/Curling Iron/Camera Battery Charger?

      If you are traveling on a Viking Longship, you will find both 110V and 220V electrical outlets in your stateroom. The 110V electrical outlets (North American style) are located above the desk and on each side of the bed. Other European ships have 220V electricity, and have the German Schuko safety plug, which has two pins. In China the ships have a 3-pin blade safety plug; an adapter with just the two slanted blades will also work. In Southeast Asia the ships use a 2-pin Euro plug. Some of these plugs are grounded and some are not. Each stateroom will have one or two 115V razor plugs available, generally in the bathroom. See the chart for more details and pictures of the plugs.

      My suggestion: It seems like it shouldn’t be a problem to bring your flat iron. I’ve taken mine on multiple Viking river and OCEAN cruises and have never had a problem. I’ve left it out on the counter and the stewards never said anything either. Unlike a hair dryer, flat irons don’t use a lot of current and most are dual voltage (check the tag).

      Have a wonderful trip! Have you seen this post?

      Best, Irene

  6. Have you been on the Midnight Sun cruise – any thoughts on the type of clothing to bring – I leave in a few days and still struggling with what clothes to take – thanks 🙂

  7. We just got back from the Viking Rhine River Cruise and these tips were very good. I have to say though that almost nobody dressed up for dinner—I saw one or two men in sport coats. Bring your comfortable easy to pack stuff ladies and bring athletic shoes that allow for socks. In the summer it can be really hot and sweaty feet even in sandals can cause blisters. Even the sharpest dressed had their athletic shoes or keen sandals on during the day. I was told specifically not to bring curling iron or flatiron (fire hazard). If you stay in a hotel before or after your cruise you will need to bring adapters for charging your phone or tablets. I definitely overpacked—shoes and clothes. I liked the hair and cleansing products on the ship, but the hotel had one cleanser for hair and body only. I was really glad I had brought my own shampoo and conditioner.

  8. Do women really wear pants and a blouse for dinner? I am bringing a few dresses but am also bringing pants and blouses. I’m hoping that other women will be wearing slacks with a nice blouse for our Viking Ocean cruise to the Caribbean

    1. Hi Meri,
      I just took the Caribbean Amazon cruise and women were wearing slacks and blouses, as did I. Keep in mind that though it may be tropical outside it can get chilly in the a/c. In the theatre it can be arctic.
      Also, regarding a curling iron…I had one and used it and had no problem. Definitely needed that in the humidity. Of course as soon as I stepped outside it was all over!

  9. Thank you for your quick reply. We are really looking forward to this cruise and it’s wonderful itinerary. Another question- my husband is thinking about bringing jeans to wear to dinner, but I thought I read that jeans are frowned upon for dinner. What is your advice?

    1. Hi Meri,

      Jeans are discouraged in the main dining room but if you want to eat and dress in jeans, you can get almost the same foods in the World Cafe, where there is no dress code. I would suggest he bring one pair of khakis.

      You will have a wonderful time!


  10. Hi Irene,

    Thanks for the tips! I have been or 2 VRCs and leave for my 1st VOC in a week (Baltic Sea – yay!) I will be on the Viking Sky so joined an”unofficial” Viking FB group to ask if all was repaired after the “incident” ~ a month ago (it is!) My #1 tip to people going on their 1st river cruise is “laundry is quick & inexpensive – don’t overpack.” There are laundry rooms on the ocean ships and a friend said do NOT think you will do laundry on the days you are sailing – everybody has that idea. Throw your clothes in a washer when you leave for dinner, then in the dryer afterward.
    Lots of controversy on curling irons & flatirons. Viking says they are NOT allowed, but no one will confiscate. Just be sure to unplug when not in use.

  11. Regsrding snacks you forgot to mention that you do not need room service as each room comes with a bar fridge and that snacks like the delicious home baked cookies are readily available ftim the World Cafe. We often take a few with us on tours for snacks on the bus.

  12. Thank you for these suggestions and actual experiences! I just received my cruise documents and read through them and was quite upset when I read that I could not bring my hair straightener on board. I laughed out loud at the comments from Shelly and Mary. My hair is unruly amplified. I had mental pictures of all my photos of me enjoying Europe but my hair looking like it did in junior high. Thank you all for your notes that you had no problems bringing them on board. Whew! Thank you Irene for this information!

    1. My recollection is that Viking Ocean Cruises have fluffy comforters and luxury down pillows. If you have any kind of allergy, you can ask your cabin steward or the guest services manager for a foam pillow. Hope that helps!

      Enjoy your cruise!


  13. I like a foam pillow so I asked for one on my Bermuda cruise with Viking. It arrived promptly that evening while we were at dinner. But I noticed that I had 3 pillows and had to throw the extra one on a chair. Next time I will ask for the extra pillow to be removed. I will also ask for a lighter bed cover. The down comforter is lovely but too heavy. The room stewards are wonderful and treat you like royalty!

  14. Hi Glenise,
    To the best of my knowledge, every stateroom has a mini-bar. I checked the website and all in-room amenities are listed under the name of each ship. For example, this was the information for the Viking Star, which shows mini-bars in every category of stateroom:
    Since you need the refrigerator for your medicine, I would call the cruise line just to make sure it will be large enough to meet your needs or to see if a larger one can be placed in your cabin. Viking 1-866-984-5464.
    Hope this is helpful and have a wonderful cruise!

  15. Thank you this is very helpful. I hope people will stick with unscented laundry products, the laundry/softener fragrances really set it off for people with asthma.

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