Packing For A Viking Ocean Cruise: What NOT To Pack

Published on: November 24, 2019 | Last Updated on March 6, 2023
Suitcase (credit: Pixabay)

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, and what you’ll be doing, and 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 find what you want.

So master the art of packing light!

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 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 6 things you should definitely NOT take:

1) NO formal evening attire

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

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). 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.

The only exception to the no-adapter rule below: Make sure you bring European-style adapters for the plugs, and that the hair tools can run 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.

4) No shampoo or conditioner

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 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 soap, body lotion, shower gel and shower cap at home as well. They are also provided by the cruise line and replenished as needed.

More to come below but also read my list of essential Cruise Hacks, for both sea and ocean voyages:

Cruise Hacks: Packing and Other Cruise Tips  

5) No snacks

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

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

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 from a cruise excursion, do remember to pack a few Ziploc bags. 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 bins by the security exit before disembarking.

Often, a crew member will place towels on your bed the night before if you’ve booked an excursion that might call for beach towels.

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

COVID-19 UPDATE: If you are traveling on land or sea, be sure to read my post on the 6 essential items you need to bring to prevent and treat COVID:

COVID Travel Packing List: 6 Essentials For Any Trip 

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


Viking Ocean Cruises

Viking Luggage Tag (Credit: Jerome Levine)

Also on MoreTimeToTravel:

Viking Ocean Cruises Carves Out A Special Niche for Over-50 Travelers

Best Travel Accessories for Men: 28 Great Gifts for Travelers

Travel Essentials For Women


  • 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

Check out a list of items prohibited onboard: Viking Prohibited Items List

Also, be sure to read: Viking Ocean Cruises Frequently Asked Questions

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  • Reply
    Janice Chung
    September 29, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      September 30, 2017 at 4:49 am

      We’ve got to get you back into cruising, Janice! Glad you enjoyed the post~

  • Reply
    Lauren M
    October 3, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    In my experience, this is great advice! Thanks for the reminders.

  • Reply
    Marsha Dumo
    December 11, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    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

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      December 12, 2017 at 5:08 pm

      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!

  • Reply
    Robyn Spahr
    February 20, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    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?

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      February 21, 2018 at 2:00 pm

      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!

    • Reply
      August 22, 2019 at 4:43 pm

      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?

      • Reply
        Irene S. Levine
        August 23, 2019 at 7:22 am

        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!


  • Reply
    Jan Lees
    April 15, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    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 !!

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      April 15, 2018 at 11:19 pm

      I would suggest that you call Viking. I’d be surprised if they couldn’t tell you the answer; my experience is that they are great on the phone!

    • Reply
      Robyn Spahr
      April 18, 2018 at 2:09 pm

      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.

      • Reply
        Irene S. Levine
        April 18, 2018 at 2:41 pm

        Thanks for responding, Robyn. Many people prefer to bring their own reliable shampoos/conditioners/toiletries, etc. so they know what to expect when they use them.

  • Reply
    Shelley Bouchard
    April 21, 2018 at 1:37 am

    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:)

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      April 21, 2018 at 9:17 am

      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

  • Reply
    Lynn Davis
    June 21, 2018 at 11:32 am

    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 🙂

  • Reply
    Carol Eaton
    July 9, 2018 at 10:31 am

    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.

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      July 9, 2018 at 1:05 pm

      Hi Carol,

      Glad the tips were helpful. Thanks for sharing your tips and experiences!

  • Reply
    August 22, 2018 at 6:54 am

    How does Viking Ocean cruises treat solo travellers. Are there any solo travellers on their cruises.


  • Reply
    February 23, 2019 at 9:30 am

    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

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      February 24, 2019 at 2:16 am

      Wear whatever makes you feel comfortable but nice slacks and a blouse will be absolutely fine. The dress code on Viking Ocean Cruises is very relaxed.

    • Reply
      March 10, 2019 at 7:36 pm

      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!

  • Reply
    February 24, 2019 at 9:20 am

    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?

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      February 24, 2019 at 11:49 am

      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!


  • Reply
    February 24, 2019 at 11:50 am

    Thanks again!

  • Reply
    MJ Jacobsen
    April 27, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      April 28, 2019 at 9:11 am

      Thanks for your tip! I’m sure you will have a wonderful cruise!
      Best, Irene

      • Reply
        Judy Davies
        October 26, 2019 at 3:44 am

        Do viking ocean cruise lines have a hairdresser on board?

        • Reply
          Irene S. Levine
          October 26, 2019 at 11:13 am

          Hi Judy,

          Yes, I believe there is one. You can check with Viking to make sure.

          Best, Irene

  • Reply
    Peter Gardiner
    May 15, 2019 at 11:30 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    May 19, 2019 at 10:37 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      May 20, 2019 at 7:48 am

      Hoping you will enjoy your voyage and have “good hair days,” too!

  • Reply
    February 3, 2020 at 2:17 pm

    Does the ocean cruise provide different pillow?

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      February 4, 2020 at 8:49 am

      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!


  • Reply
    September 10, 2021 at 3:53 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      September 10, 2021 at 8:14 pm

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Cindy! It will be helpful to others.

  • Reply
    September 21, 2022 at 12:05 am

    Are there tea making facilities in room. I like boiled water first up in the mirning

  • Reply
    October 25, 2022 at 6:37 pm

    Can we travel with our dog?

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      October 27, 2022 at 6:13 pm

      “No pets or other animals are allowed on board the ship, other than service animals and certified therapy dogs as Viking may choose to permit at its sole discretion.” For additional information, see the Viking FAQs.
      Best, Irene

  • Reply
    Irene S. Levine
    October 27, 2022 at 6:59 pm

    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!

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