Viking Expedition Cruises vs Scenic Eclipse

Compare ships, pricing, destinations, onboard facilities and shore excursions between Viking Expedition Cruises and Scenic Eclipse.

Viking Expedition Cruises   vs   Scenic Eclipse

The Low Down

Viking Expedition Cruises Scenic Eclipse Cruises
Where do they cruise?
  • Antarctica
  • Canada & New England
  • Caribbean
  • Northern Europe
  • South America
  • TransAtlantic
  • UK & Ireland
  • USA
  • Worldwide
  • + more
How many passengers are on board?
378
228 (200 in the Arctic & Antarctica)
What type of cruise line are they?
Premium
Luxury
What are they known for?
  • No Casinos
  • No Children
  • The Thinking Person’s Cruise
  • Adventures in all-inclusive luxury
  • An Expert Discovery Team
  • Helicopter & submarine experiences
What is the average expedition cost per day?
  • Balcony : $1,175
  • Suite: $1,929
  • Balcony : $1,363
  • Suite: $2,301
Are fares all inclusive?
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.
Yes
Are gratuities included?
Yes, for Australian and New Zealand Passengers.
Yes
Are there any additional gratuities payable on board?
No. Only at guest discretion.
No
Can I get any reciprocal loyalty club benefits?
No. The Viking Explorer Society offers credit and referral rewards to past passengers of Viking Cruises only.
You may choose to have your Scenic trip count towards your Evergreen Explorer tier status. However, trips with Evergreen Tours or Emerald Waterways cannot count towards your Scenic Club tier status.
What is the onboard currency?
USD
USD
What language is spoken on board?
English
English
Who cruises with them?
  • Primarily couples & solos
  • Retired and semi-retired
  • World travellers
  • Well-travelled active guests
  • Keen explorers who like extra comforts
What is the average passenger age?
Primarily 50+
Primarily 45-64
Are they good for families?
No. No children under 18 years of age.
Not for those with young children. Scenic does not recommend luxury expedition style cruising for children under 12 years.
Are there children’s programs?
No
No
Is there childcare and/or babysitting?
No
No
What are the accommodation options?
Nordic Balcony Staterooms & Suites.
All-Veranda Suites
Are there accessible staterooms?
Yes
No
Are shore excursions included?
A minimum of one shore excursion per landing day is included; there may be two on some days. On some expeditions, there may also be optional excursions available for purchase.
Yes. Complimentary. Helicopter and submarine excursions incur additional charges.
What types of onboard activities are available for free?
Activities such as lectures, film screenings, presentations and daily briefings from the expedition team as well as scientific programs hosted in The Laboratory.
Lectures and educations programs are offered on board, along with a wellness program complete with meditation sessions and yoga and Pilates classes.
Are there any onboard activities that I need to pay for?
No. All onboard activities are included.
No
Is there free evening entertainment?
Yes
Yes. The state-of-the-art theatre hosts selected evening performances as well as lectures and education programs.
Is there any paid evening entertainment?
No
No
Are there complimentary dining options?
Yes
Yes
Are there specialty restaurants?
Yes. Complimentary.
Yes. Complimentary.
Are there dining packages for purchase?
No
No
Are non-alcoholic beverages included?
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.
Yes. Freshly squeezed juices, soft drinks, non-alcoholic beer and cider, mocktails, specialty teas and coffees.
Are alcoholic beverages included?
Complimentary house wines and beers are served with lunches and dinners on board.
Yes. All drinks on board are included except for a very small number of rare, fine and vintage wines, champagnes and spirits.
Can I purchase a beverage package?
Yes. For premium cocktails or wines and spirits, Viking offers the Silver Spirits beverage package.
No
Is there room service?
Yes. Complimentary 24/7.
Yes. Butler service provided for every guest.
Is there Wi-Fi on board?
Yes. Complimentary.
Yes. Complimentary.
Can I purchase Wi-Fi packages?
No
No
Is there a Spa?
Yes. Access is complimentary.
Yes. 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. Specialised classes such as yoga may attract a charge.
Yes. Complimentary wellness activities are offered in the yoga and Pilates studio.
Is there personal training available?
No
No
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?
No
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.

The Verdict

Comparing Viking's Expedition Ships & Scenic Eclipse

The Scenic Eclipse Discovery Yachts

The Scenic Eclipse is marketed as the ‘World’s First Discovery Yacht’ and is due to be joined by Scenic Eclipse II in 2020/2021. The small ship welcomes 228 guests (200 in the Polar regions) and boasts an all-inclusive luxury. For its size, there is a considerable number of amenities on board.

Scenic Eclipse guests can enjoy a state art theatre to host lectures, expedition briefings and evening performances, a generous 550 m² (5,920 ft²) Spa Sanctuary complete with saunas and steam rooms, yoga and pilates studio, a gym, as well as indoor and outdoor pools. Cruisers will have no shortage of bars and lounges to mingle and relax in, with eight options to choose from on board. From the Observation Lounge complete with telescopes for wildlife spotting, to sipping bubbles at the Champagne Bar or enjoying an aged single malt at the Scenic Lounge, there is a space to suit every guest.

Passengers can also indulge in up to 10 dining experiences on the Scenic Eclipse. The main restaurant, Elements, serves up a range of flavours from Italian to steak and seafood. Options also include French fare at Lumière, Asian fusion, sushi and Teppanyaki at Koko’s, the Yacht Club poolside grill, and relaxed all day grazing at Azure Bar & Café. Chefs Table @ Elements is an invitation-only degustation experience, and there is also a cooking school on board and in-suite dining available 24/7.

Designed to blend luxury and discovery, the Scenic Eclipse has generous bells and whistles for global explorers who like some extra comforts. There is a butler service for every suite, a Whiskey Wall complete with 110 complimentary varieties, and a wellness program offering meditation sessions and yoga classes.

When it comes to your home away from home, Scenic Eclipse has 114 spacious suites, all with a private veranda or terrace. Sizes range from 32 m² (344 ft²) in a Veranda Suite to 195 m² (2,099 ft²) in the Owner’s Penthouse Suite. For those travelling with larger parties, there is the option to transform an Owner’s Penthouse Suite and a Spa Suite into a two-bedroom accommodation.

 

Viking Expedition Ships

Viking’s expedition ships, Viking Polaris and Viking Octantis, are set to hit the seas in 2022. Both ships will have an identical design, each accommodating 378 passengers. Viking guests will notice some signature elements of their ocean fleet on board, with lots of window space and plenty of natural light as well as an iconic Scandinavian design. Some familiar features include the Nordic spa, the Explorer’s Lounge, and the Living Room. There is also a library, fitness centre, and three different temperature pools.

Guests can choose from six complimentary dining options. The Restaurant serves up regional cuisine and classic favourites in an elegant setting, Manfredi’s takes its inspiration from Italy’s trattorias, a range of international flavours are on offer at the World Café, and Mamsen’s Norwegian Deli gives guests a taste of Norwegian specialties. Guests can also enjoy sipping mulled wine or some traditional aquavit in the aptly named Aquavit Bar, enjoy breads and pastries at any hour thanks to the bakery, or dine in with 24 hour room service.

Designed as working research vessels, the new ships will come equipped with some unique spaces and interesting innovations. The Hangar is a standout, serving as an enclosed marina where guests can embark on small excursion crafts shielded from the elements – no need to contend with the wind and waves. Within The Hangar guests will also find The Laboratory complete with wet and dry lab facilities. Cruisers can join scientists as they undertake their research activities, analysing field samples collected on expedition excursions and sharing their findings with Viking guests.

To further enrich the learning experience on board, Viking has designed an auditorium spanning two decks to host lectures and presentations. The Aula is flanked by floor to ceiling glass windows on three sides for guests to take in the views. This dedicated learning space is also equipped with a retractable screen spanning almost the full width of the room where films and seminars can be screened.

Accommodation options on board range from 21 m² (222 ft²) balcony staterooms to the Junior Suite at 30 m² (322 ft²), all with a Nordic Balcony. A Nordic Balcony has floor to ceiling glass of which the upper half is retractable, so guests can choose to enjoy the views from indoors or convert the space into an al fresco observation area. There is also the more spacious Explorer Suite with both a private veranda and Nordic Balcony, and the largest Owner’s Suite coming in at 114 m² (1,223 ft²) with a 74 m² (792 ft²) private garden lounge area complete with a badestamp (hot tub).

 

Comparing destinations

What to Expect on a Scenic Eclipse Cruise

Scenic Eclipse voyages showcase remote destinations around the globe, as well as some more traditional ocean cruise regions such as the Mediterranean and Central America and the Caribbean (depending on the season). They offer a different way to explore these popular regions to what the larger classic ocean liners do however it is their expedition style cruises that make up the bulk of their collection.

Most Scenic Eclipse itineraries visit the Polar regions, with Northern Europe and the Arctic and South America and Antarctica being the strongest offering for the line. Onboard programming consists of lectures and education programs to enrich the journey to these destinations, and Scenic’s Discovery Leaders are experts in their field. Together with local guides and regional specialists they deliver a comprehensive excursion program tailored to the destinations visited.

On Eclipse journeys, there can be up to three styles of excursions to choose from, and all are complimentary (except helicopter and submarine experiences). Freechoice options offer a diverse range of sightseeing activities to suit varied interests, while Enrich experiences are exclusive or unique encounters extended to Scenic guests. Active discovery excursions will see travellers set off on Zodiac, kayak, e-bike, snow shoeing or snorkelling adventures.

Scenic Eclipse is also equipped with two helicopters and one submarine. These experiences come at an additional cost and are offered on select itineraries across a number of regions. Dive below the surface in the Artic or Antarctica, or discover an underwater world in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean or beneath the Norwegian fjords. If you prefer a bird’s eye view, perhaps opt for a helicopter flight over the Greek Islands, Iceland, Antarctica or the Falkland Islands.

 

What to Expect on a Viking Expedition

The inaugural 2022 season will see Viking expeditions focus on Antarctica, the Arctic, the Great Lakes and Canada. There will also be a handful of Grand Journeys that visit the Caribbean, explore the Brazilian coastline, set off on a transatlantic crossing, and cruise from Norway to the British Isles.

While they are yet to undertake their maiden voyages, the experience on these cruises is set to ‘wow’ science enthusiasts. Viking has established strong partnerships to elevate their expedition ships to floating learning laboratories. They have joined forces with the University of Cambridge’s Scott Polar Research Institute whose scientists will undertake fieldwork on board and on shore, and ornithologists from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology will regularly join expedition sailings to conduct field testing and data collection. Every expedition will have over 25 scientists and experts from a range of disciplines to make each journey a rewarding knowledge building experience.

Daily excursions will offer guests the opportunity to participate in scientific fieldwork, hike through varied landscapes, explore underwater worlds, set off on kayaking trips, and join Zodiac adventures (just to name a few). There will be a variety of options available to suit traveller interests, and the destinations visited. On Viking expedition cruises, virtually all excursions are included in the cruise fare. In some destinations, guests can also choose from optional paid experiences to further their exploration.

Viking Polaris and Octantis will each come equipped with two six-seater submarines, and as a standout offering, these submarine experiences will be complimentary. Each underwater vessel will accommodate up to six guests at a time and allow for roughly 30 minutes below the surface. Unlike Scenic Eclipse, the Viking expedition vessels will not have a helicopter on board.

 

Who provides the best value – Viking Expeditions or Scenic Eclipse?

Expedition cruises with both Viking and Scenic are considered all-inclusive. Cruise prices include gratuities, onboard and onshore experiences, Wi-Fi, complimentary dining, and non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages (some limitations apply). When you are weighing up the value of each line, it is important to consider the items and features that are most important to you. Here are some differences in each lines’ inclusions to be aware of between Scenic and Viking expeditions.

 

Scenic Includes Premium Alcoholic Beverages

Scenic includes almost all drinks on board the Eclipse, including a broad selection of alcoholic beverages. There is also a small number of rare, fine and vintage wines, champagnes and spirits available for purchase, should guests choose. However, the complimentary collection is already comprehensive and you are likely to find all you need in the included selections. The wine list has been curated with the services of one of only 400 Master of Wines worldwide and features some of the world’s finest wines and options that reflect the regions visited. There is also a Whiskey Wall proudly boasting 110 varieties for guests to enjoy.

Viking includes house wines, beers and soft drinks with lunches and dinners only. Alcohol purchases outside of mealtimes or extending beyond the complimentary selection at lunch at dinner will incur charges. Guests can opt to add Viking’s Silver Spirit beverage package to their booking which will upgrade their inclusions or enjoy this as a complimentary benefit when cruising in Explorer or Owner’s Suites.

 

Scenic Includes Butler Service

Every guest cruising on the Scenic Eclipse can enjoy a dedicated butler service. This white glove service adds an extra element of luxury to the expedition cruise experience. A butler service is not offered by Viking however guests can take advantage of complimentary room service 24/7 on every voyage.

 

Viking Includes a Full Expedition Kit

Guests need to be suitably prepared when embarking on an expedition cruise. Viking provides all outer clothing and gear required for expedition trips, and the free Viking Expedition Kit includes the use of boots, waterproof pants, and even binoculars. Gear that may be needed for excursions, such as trekking poles, snowshoes and skis, is also provided complimentary. When cruising to the Polar regions, an expedition jacket is provided for guests keep.

Scenic also provides a complimentary parka on Polar voyages as a memento to take home, as well as the use of polar boots for the duration of the cruise. However, additional gear such as trekking poles or waterproof layers is not included in your cruise fare. These items can be rented or purchased at an additional cost.

 

Conclusion

Expedition cruises come with high operating costs, however, the all-inclusive nature of Scenic and Viking ensures you are getting plentiful inclusions for your investment in the trip of a lifetime.