Viking Ocean Cruises’ Covid-19 Safety Protocols
Viking Ocean Cruises’ Covid-19 Safety Protocols
Carol and I just experienced Viking Ocean Cruises’ Covid-19 Health & Safety Protocols.
With all of the confusion in the traveling publics’ mind around Covid-19 and the Delta Variant, we thought it necessary to experience an ocean cruise during Covid for ourselves.
As busy as we are right now, we thought it wise to stay close to home. Therefore, we chose Viking’s Bermuda Escape.
Bermuda is a short two-hour flight from Boston, and this 8-day cruise seemed like the perfect getaway.
We called good friends from North Carolina to join us, and off we went.
As the purpose of this article is to share Viking’s Covid-19 Health and Safety Protocols, we share our overall Viking cruise experience in another article.
Experiencing Viking’s Covid-19 Health & Safety Protocols
Overseas travel during a Covid-19 pandemic involves quite a bit of last-minute scurrying to get the required tests and documentation required.
Here is the chronological series of events we experienced:
- Full Vaccination – first and foremost, you will not be allowed on a cruise ship if you are not fully vaccinated. Our cardboard CDC vaccination cards were all that was required to meet this criterion.
- Health & Safety Questionnaire – a week before sailing, Viking required us to complete a health and safety questionnaire. The questionnaire asked if we were vaccinated and the typical questions like whether we had come in contact with someone with Covid-19, whether we had a high temperature, etc.
- Negative PCR Test – Bermuda requires a negative PCR test no more than 3-days before arrival. Therefore, we went to our local CVS pharmacy and had our negative test within 24-hours.
- PCR Test in Bermuda – when we arrived in Bermuda, the Bermudian government required that we take another PCR test right in the airport. They gave us a red wristband to wear until we received the negative test results by email within 24-hours.
- Viking PCR Test – upon arrival to our suite aboard the ship, Viking required that all passengers take another PCR test and produce a negative result. With Viking’s onboard PCR labs, our task was easily accomplished by providing 2 ML of saliva each morning.
- Daily PCR Testing – Viking requires that all passengers and crew take a morning PCR test. When we arrived in our stateroom each evening, there were two vials for Carol and me to produce 2 ML of saliva again. Our cabin steward picked these up each morning, and our cabin steward told us that no news is good news. It was comforting to know that Viking was testing everyone aboard that ship every single day.
- Mask Wearing – unless we were eating or enjoying a cocktail, Viking required everyone aboard the ship to wear masks. While this was the most intrusive protocol to our daily comfort, we were happy to comply. And in the off-chance you forgot to wear your mask, Viking staff were quick to serve a gentle reminder. In Bermuda, we were not required to wear a mask unless we were in a public building or in a setting where we could not obtain social distancing.
- Hand Sanitizing – there were hand sanitization stations all over the ship. And before you entered a particular area like a restaurant or the theater, Viking posted staff at the entrance to ensure that everyone sanitized their hands.
- Morning Temperature Readings – before entering the restaurant for breakfast, Viking has facial recognition devices that scanned our faces and took our temperatures.
As you can see, Viking went above and beyond to ensure that all guests and crew were safe and able to “explore the world in comfort.”
I have just touched the surface of what Viking is doing to protect its passengers. To see all of Viking’s Health & Safety Protocols, please CLICK HERE.
Summing It All Up
In my humble opinion, you are far safer on a cruise ship than simply going into your local grocery store.
Where else can you go and know that everyone is vaccinated, everyone is screened for the virus every day, and that deep viral cleaning is happening every day? You can’t even have that assurance at the Mayo Clinic!
One of the ship’s passengers mentioned to me that she wished that her grandchildren could go to school on a Viking ship. It just might be the safest place on earth to avoid the Covid virus.
As a travel agency owner, I find it frustrating that our media is so focused on the negative news.
Since June, we’ve had over 100 of our clients travel overseas, and we’ve had very little in the way of complications with Covid-19. And the two cases that I can think of off the top of my head were positive PCR tests upfront, which prevented people from traveling in the first place.
I’ll be the first to admit that I abhor wearing a mask. But, would I rather sit home or experience the world with friends new and old?
For Carol and me, we choose to wear the darn mask and see the world.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS: If you have experience traveling overseas in recent months, we’d love to hear your comments and feedback in the comments section below.
For more information about our travel services, please call Roaming Boomers Travel Services at (480) 550-1235 or use our convenient online information request (click here), and we’ll reach out to you.
If you enjoyed this article, sign up for our travel newsletter to keep abreast of our best travel tips, on-location reviews, exclusive travel offers, group travel events, and much more.
Roaming Boomers Travel Services is an Independent Affiliate of Cadence, a Virtuoso® member. CST#201120-40
Carol & Dave,
It’s 9:00 PM and we’re sitting on the terrace outside our hotel room in Barcelona. Our journey on Viking begins on Sunday, and it’s reassuring to read their safety protocols. You are right about the challenges of completing the documentation and tests required, but after experiencing Barcelona the past two days I am happy to report that it has been worth every challenge! We are so grateful to be vaccinated and wearing a mask is a minor inconvenience!
So wonderful to hear from you. We, too, love Barcelona. Have fun on your cruise, and we can wait to read the testimonial after your cruise.
We love viking cruises and right now have almost $80k in credit. But we will defer until next year at earliest. The fear for us is the considerable effort, anxiety and airfare to get overseas, which is then lost completely a day or so into the cruise. We have read of many accounts on viking where a passenger gets a positive result on second day. You are then confined to stateroom or told to disembark at next port, hotel at your own expense. Of course, you have to find someplace to accept you and can’t go home until negative results, possibly with zero symptoms.
How did you get infected? Who knows? Was it on an excursion? Maybe, but now your very costly vacation is a loss. I compare this to buying lottery tickets. You might win or you might lose completely.
It’s just safer to wait a bit longer, travel locally, and save the money.
Your lottery comparison is solved with travel insurance. Nonetheless, many of our clients are indeed waiting until next year. On the other hand, many of our clients are currently traveling and enjoying the complete lack of crowds. We give our clients the facts and then listen to what is comfortable for them. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.
PLEASE do not fail to mention that the CREW on Viking is NOT fully vaccinated. We love Viking but having crew on board who interact with passengers and each other in tight quarters is NOT acceptable and irresponsible! Other lines (Norwegian, e.g.) are managing to guarantee ALL crew (and passengers) are vaccinated. There have been many outbreaks on Viking and other ships! Viking’s intense protocols are ironically for passengers only and not crew! It feels a bit deceptive. You should be honest about this with your clients so they can make an informed decision! United A/L cruises website has a very good list of which lines are fully vaccinated and whether it applies to CREW also (or not).
Thanks for stopping by and sharing your concern. Regarding testing on the ocean ships, here is a direct quote from Viking’s website:
Dedicated PCR Laboratories
Viking was the first cruise line to complete the installation of the first full-scale PCR laboratory at sea. Each of our ocean vessels will be equipped with a PCR laboratory, providing Viking with the capability to test all guests and crew every day if necessary. A strong network of Viking-dedicated shoreside labs will bring the same high-quality, high-accuracy molecular testing regimen to our river ships.
When I last asked Viking senior-level executives when they thought they might have all of their crew fully vaccinated, I was told September 8.
It saddens us all that you might think that we are not honest with our clients and readers. I have been sharing information that I get directly from Viking, and I certainly can’t rely on the accuracy of other websites on the Internet, be it United Airlines or anyone else.
I just fired off a copy of your comments to Viking senior executives, and I’ll post their comments to your concerns when they respond. Have a great day, and again, thank you for your passionate concerns.
My sister and I just completed the Danube river cruise with Viking – It was amazing! To address the previous comment …. every crew member aboard our ship WAS VACCINATED. The staff made it clear to us that they have been out of work for the last 1.5 years and were serious about maintaining the ability for them to continue working. The Covid testing protocol was as described earlier and most people complied – except for one man who had to be reminded constantly to put on his mask – There is always one – isn’t there? The ship only has 50% guest capacity – which we were told was what Viking was running at now. The excursions were amazing – no big crowds – All of the Viking associates – on and off the ship – must also wear masks regardless of local restrictions – or lack of. I would go back in a heartbeat. I cannot think of anything more Viking could do to keep us safe and still provide an amazing experience.
Thank you for stopping by and sharing your experience. We, too, found Viking’s diligence to the safety of their passengers and crew exceptional.
As I mentioned in my article, even the Mayo Clinic isn’t providing you the same level of protection that Viking is on their ships. When you visit Mayo, you can’t be assured that everyone you meet in the lobby has been fully vaccinated. And we have no idea if all of the nurses and staff have been vaccinated. And we certainly can’t expect that daily PCR tests are given to everyone that walks into the Mayo Clinic each day. So really, where else can you go and have this level of protection?
Knowing the importance of this topic, I would strongly encourage you to watch an interview with Viking’s Chief Health Officer, Dr. Raquel C. Bono. She is a retired 3-star Admiral with the U.S. Navy’s Medical Corps. This interview is long, so if you want to skip directly to the part about Viking’s Covid protocols, start the video at 48 minutes. Although, if you watch the earlier part of the video, you’ll have the opportunity to get to know this remarkable woman. Here is a link to the video on Viking TV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlYqqpCM6ns&t=235s
As I’ve said over and over, I don’t know where else you could go and enjoy this level of protection against Covid transmission.
I heard back from Viking yesterday, and they are currently at 99% vaccination rates for their crew and will be at 100% soon. Further, Viking reiterated that all crew members are subject to the same daily testing as the passengers.
Thank you and the other commenters on your recent experiences with Viking. We’re anxiously awaiting our November Mediterranean cruise with Viking Ocean on the Jupiter. We rescheduled this from the same time last year. Have been impressed with the level of communication we’ve received from Viking on their protocols. A little concerned about the flight, and we’re spending some extra days in Rome and Barcelona which is also risky but we’re hoping and remaining optimistic. Will be interested in how the excursions will be, disembarking and reboarding – looks like testing all around.
We leave for Vikings Antiquity Cruise January 18th. Is Israel still allowing cruise ships? Should they close their ports, I would cancel my cruise as my wife feels that this is the most important part of the cruise. We had done the Amsterdam to Budapest River Cruise pre COVID and Viking definitely treats you like Royalty. Viking protocols are above and beyond, but I fear cruise interruption and much more, acquiring the illness. Sounds like you are on your own should this happen. Isolation and no medical support is not acceptable.
Thanks for listening
John, I would give Viking or your travel agent a call. Things are very fluid right now.