|Azamara Cruises||Viking Cruises|
|Where do they cruise?|
|What type of ships do they have?||Small Cruise Ships||Mid-Size Cruise Ships|
|How many passengers are on board?||690 – 702||930|
|What type of cruise line are they?||Premium||Premium|
|What are they known for?|| || |
|What is the average cost per day?|| || |
|Are fares all inclusive?||No||Viking position themselves as an all-inclusive line, however, house beers and wine are only included at mealtimes (premium beverages are at additional cost) and there are optional paid excursions as well as included experiences|
|Are gratuities included?||Yes||Yes, for Australian and New Zealand Passengers|
|Are there any additional gratuities payable on board?||Yes. 18% gratuity added for spa services||No. Only at guest discretion|
|Can I get any reciprocal loyalty club benefits?||Azamara’s Le Club Voyage has reciprocal benefits with RCL Crown & Anchor Society and Celebrity Cruises Captain’s Club||No. The Viking Explorer Society offers credit and referral rewards to past passengers of Viking Cruises only|
|What is the onboard currency?||USD||USD|
|What language is spoken on board?||English||English|
|Who cruises with them?|| || |
|What is the average passenger age?||Primarily 50+||Primarily 50+|
|Are they good for families?||Children are accepted from 6+ months (or 12+ on select sailings) however, families are openly discouraged from sailing with children under 18 years of age||Viking Cruises does not accept children under 18 years of age|
|Are there children’s programs?||No||No|
|Is there childcare and/or babysitting?||No||No|
|What are the accommodation options?||Interior, Oceanview, Balcony & Suites||Balcony & Suites|
|Are there accessible staterooms?||Yes||Yes|
|Are shore excursions included?||No. However, on AzAmazing Evening event is included on most voyages and a complimentary shuttle is offered in select ports||One included excursion is offered at every port and optional excursions are available for purchase|
|What types of onboard activities are available for free?||Enrichment programs such as guest lectures and some onboard classes||Enrichment programs such as guest, historian and port lectures, onboard cooking demonstrations, local performers in destination, exclusive access filmed opera performances and Ted Talks|
|Are there any onboard activities that I need to pay for?||Yes. Some specialty experiences such as Vodka and Caviar tastings, Cocktail making or culinary workshops incur additional charges||Yes. The Kitchen Table experience is a for-fee excursion|
|Is there free evening entertainment?||Yes||Yes|
|Is there any paid evening entertainment?||Yes. Occasionally special entertainment may incur additional charges||No, all entertainment is included onboard|
|Are there complimentary dining options?||Yes||Yes|
|Are there specialty restaurants?||Yes. Charges Apply to all Specialty Restaurants||Yes. Complimentary|
|Are there dining packages for purchase?||Yes||No|
|Are non-alcoholic beverages included?||Yes. Bottled water, soft drinks, specialty coffees and teas||Yes. Purified water is provided in all staterooms. Soft drinks are included with lunches and dinners onboard. Specialty coffees and assorted hot teas are available 24 hours a day|
|Are alcoholic beverages included?||Yes. Select standard spirits, international beers and wines. Complimentary alcohol is not included in room service||Complimentary house wines and beers are served with lunches and dinners on board|
|Can I purchase a beverage package?||Yes||Yes. For premium cocktails or wines and spirits, Viking offers the Silver Spirits beverage package.|
|Is there room service?||Yes. Complimentary 24/7. Charges apply for alcohol orders. Complimentary alcohol is not included in room service||Yes. Complimentary 24/7|
|Is there Wi-Fi on board?||Yes. Charges Apply||Yes. Complimentary|
|Can I purchase Wi-Fi packages?||Yes||No|
|Is there a Spa?||Yes||Yes. Thermal Suite access is complimentary|
|Are spa and salon services available?||Yes. Charges Apply||Yes. Charges Apply|
|Is there a gym?||Yes||Yes|
|Are there group fitness classes?||Yes. Included complimentary. Some specialised training programs may incur additional charges||Yes. Specialised classes such as yoga may attract a charge. Classes may include; yoga, Zumba, TRX, and Body Conditioning|
|Is there personal training available?||Yes. Charges Apply||Yes. Charges Apply|
|Is there a self-service laundry?||Yes. Complimentary||Yes. Complimentary|
|Is a laundry service available?||Yes. Charges Apply||Yes. Charges Apply|
|Is there a casino on board?||Yes. Only on Azamara Journey||No|
Please Note: There may be additional inclusions and privileges for select stateroom and suite guests or select loyalty member tiers. Activities and entertainment vary by ship, itinerary and departure and are a guide only.
With a fleet of small and mid-sized ships respectively, Azamara and Viking have a similarly intimate feel and a sense of understated elegance, albeit with their own styling and décor. On Azamara’s three ships you can expect all the hallmarks of a boutique hotel with refined neutral tones that blend elegance with the warmth of home. Meanwhile, Viking’s seven ships give a nod to the brand’s Nordic heritage with a modern Scandinavian design throughout.
Within each fleet you will find practically identical sister ships, so every time you sail, you’ll know what to expect. All three Azamara ships have a capacity of roughly 700 guests and offer almost identical facilities across the fleet, with alike accommodation options from interior staterooms to suites, the same seven dining venues (two of which incur a surcharge), a cabaret lounge apiece, and similar social spaces to enjoy.
Viking’s seven sister ships welcome 930 passengers each, with staterooms and suites all equipped with private balconies. There are seven restaurants (all of which are complimentary), a theatre for shows and movie theatres to screen lectures and films, as well as serene Scandinavian spaces to relax and lounges with panoramic windows to mingle and take in the views.
While the décor and designs differ, and Viking’s slightly larger ships afford them the space for a couple more venues, guests can enjoy a similarly comfortable and enriching onboard experience on either line. You’ll find lectures and classes, evening entertainment (although don’t expect the nightlife to carry through to the early morning hours), and the opportunity to head ashore after dark with more late stays in port and overnights on both lines than many others in the industry.
Azamara and Viking both deliver a premium cruise experience geared towards couples and solos with a worldly curiosity. Both lines are adult-centric, so you generally won’t find a lot of children, if any at all. While Azamara allows for children from six months, they don’t offer children’s facilities and their programming is distinctly adult oriented. Viking outright doesn’t accept passengers under 18 years with their ‘No Kids’ policy, so they are a great option for an adults-only cruise.
Viking’s ‘No Casinos’ mantra also tends to set them apart from most lines, although it isn’t a differentiator between Viking and Azamara. Azamara has phased out casinos on Azamara Pursuit and Azamara Quest, and from October 2020, the casino will also be removed from Azamara Journey.
Viking’s fares tend to sit at a higher price point than Azamara’s, however, they also tend to have more (albeit different) inclusions. Every Viking stateroom and suite comes equipped with a private balcony, so you’re likely to pay a bit more for this feature, regardless of whether this space is imperative to you. Guests who are happy to forgo a balcony can opt for an interior or oceanview stateroom with Azamara to save themselves some upfront costs. When looking at a balcony stateroom for each line, Azamara fares still tend to be slightly cheaper.
For the price, you’ll receive a generous number of inclusions with Viking. All guests can take advantage of one complimentary shore excursion at every port, free Wi-Fi, complimentary dining in all onboard venues, as well as beer and wine served with lunch and dinner. If you are a spirit drinker or would like premium wine selections, upgrading to a Silver Spirits Package will add US$20 per person per day to the cruise. Alternatively, you can take advantage of Viking’s relaxed alcohol policy which enables guests to bring their own alcohol to consume on board, without any corkage fees.
Azamara guests pay extra for their shore excursions (except for one hallmark AzAmazing Evenings onshore event offered on most voyages), Wi-Fi, and specialty dining (a US$30 surcharge applies to Aqualina and Prime C, all other venues complimentary). They can however enjoy complimentary standard spirits, beers and wines all day, every day, which puts their complimentary alcohol offering ahead of Viking’s. Upgraded beverage packages are also available for purchase.
If you are looking for more similar inclusions between the lines, you might want to consider an Azamara suite which will provide some extra perks that their lower stateroom categories forgo, such as 240 free internet minutes and no surcharge to dine in Azamara’s specialty restaurants. You’ll also get more space, with an Azamara Club Continent Suite coming in at just over 30m² (326 sq. ft.) rather than the 15m² (158 sq. ft) in an interior stateroom. Comparatively, a Viking Veranda Stateroom will give you 25m² of space (270 sq. ft.). Plus, all suite guests cruising with Azamara can enjoy a butler service, a bonus not available on Viking ships.
When weighing up your cruise options, it is worth considering the benefits you will get depending on the stateroom or suite category you are considering, as well as taking into account any deals available which may include cruise fare discounts or added bonuses which make the offerings between these lines more (or less) comparable at the time of booking.
Both Azamara and Viking have strongly destination focussed itineraries. They include popular destinations as well as lesser visited ports which they can access thanks to their smaller ships. Extended stays in port are a standout for both lines, and they offer culturally rich experiences as part of their onboard and onshore programs.
Viking tends to set sail for longer, with roughly a third of their collection in 2020 being three weeks or more, rather than just a handful of 21+ day trips with Azamara. Viking offers more (and lengthier) Transatlantic voyages as well as worldwide journeys, while Azamara tends to have more shorter in-depth explorations than Viking. You’ll find a collection of country intensive voyages with Azamara which visit multiple ports in the one destination, as well as their multi-country options.
Onshore, the focus on destination continues with excursions designed to immerse guests in the local life as well as provide exclusive access to special places and experiences. Viking includes one free excursion at each port, which tends to be an introductory tour by foot or coach, and guests can choose from a selection of paid options if they choose – this collection of experiences showcases the ‘Local Life’, ‘Working World’ or ‘Privileged Access’ experiences.
Azamara’s shore program comes at an additional expense, with paid excursions available in each port. Azamara does however offer one complimentary AzAmazing Evening event on most voyages where guests are invited ashore for a private or unique experience to showcase the destination (think a night out at the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, or an acrobatic show in Monaco).
With comprehensive itineraries, and a generous on board offering for premium brands, either line will satisfy the culturally curious world traveller who enjoys some little luxuries.
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