Free drinks are hard to come by on a cruise. But on Viking Cruises, your bar bill will be zilch if you stick with wine or beer at lunch and dinner – nice, right? On both their river and ocean cruises, wine and beer is complimentary during these meals. But what if you want a lemon drop martini before dinner? It costs $7.50 USD on the Viking cruise bar menu. (That is, on the Viking Ocean bar menu; the river cruises have different bar prices.)
But maybe you don’t want to think twice about ordering a cocktail? Or perhaps you’d like to try different premium wines.
Then the Viking Silver Spirits package might be for you. This all-inclusive drinks package is available on both the ocean and river cruises.
We’ve just returned from our second Viking cruise. Our first was an ocean cruise on the Viking Star in the Baltic; this most recent voyage was on the Viking Sea from New York to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Plenty of time to learn more about the drinks and wine on Viking Cruises :-). A subject, we’ve learned, people are curious about!
So, here’s all you need to know about the Viking cruise bar menu.
What’s on the drink menus (for both the ocean and river cruises)? What’s the cost of drinks? Is it worth getting the Viking Silver Spirits package? Read on…
Viking Cruise bar menu
Viking Ocean Cruises bar prices:
Bar prices on Viking Ocean Cruises are in USD.
Viking Ocean Cruises bar prices average about $6 to $7.50 USD for cocktails, martinis and other hard liquor. Prices include the tip.
Sample: See this sample 2018 bar menu (Viking Ocean) for details.
Viking River Cruises bar prices:
Bar prices on Viking River Cruises are quoted in Euros.
Cocktails range from about 7.5 to 9 Euros. For example, a dry martini is 8 Euros. Premium wines average 8 Euros a glass.
Sample: See this sample bar menu (Viking River); scroll down, as the first page is blank until you get to the bottom.
Viking Ocean Cruises wine
Viking Ocean Cruises is known for its “no nickel-and-diming” philosophy.
As part of that, its prices include complimentary “destination” wines at lunch and dinner in the restaurants, the Explorer’s Lounge and even in the cabins as part of room service. (Several choices of beer are also available for free at lunch and dinner.)
Wines vary from time to time and on different cruises.
Each night, different complimentary “destination” wines are poured – from Spain one night, perhaps Italy the next, France the third night, and so on. Sample: A 2015 French Granache/Syrah/Merlot blend from Vaucluse.
Also, the two specialty restaurants – Manfredi’s and the Chef’s Table – serve different complimentary wines than the main restaurant.
There’s an additional charge for premium wine on Viking Cruises. A glass on the ocean cruises averages $6 USD a glass; a larger selection is available by the bottle. Prices include a 15% gratuity.
See this 2018 premium wine list from our recent Viking Sea cruise.
Viking Ocean Cruises wine menu (sample page)
We had a shipboard credit on both our cruises, so we could try some of these premium wines.
On our first Viking Star cruise, we felt no need to order anything beyond the “destination” wines. We’re not wine snobs, but we like good wine – and we found the “destination” wines were good. But we couldn’t resist trying the $25 USD p.p. premium wine and alcohol pairings at the Chef’s Table restaurant for the five-course Scandinavian dinner. The Aquavit went perfectly with the lingonberry-infused salmon tartare topped with caviar!
On our second ocean cruise on the Viking Sea, we did order (and enjoy!) some premium wines by the glass at dinner.
Did we like the premium wines better than the complimentary wines?
Mmmm. Yes, some, for sure. But some of the complimentary wines were just delightful too – like the Sacchetto Pino Grigio Blush (paired with the gazpacho on the “Sweet and Salty” five-course menu at the Chef’s Table).
If you’re booked in a Penthouse Veranda (or higher-category cabin), your free in-room mini-bar is also stocked and replenished with alcoholic beverages.
No corkage fees:
Want to buy a special bottle of wine ashore and bring it onboard to drink in the restaurant at dinner? No problem.
And there’s no corkage fee.
For our Viking Sea cruise, we brought onboard a couple of nice bottles we’d bought in New York. And the waiters served them the same professional way as the ship’s wines, even popping the white in an ice bucket.
Viking River Cruises wine
At lunch and dinner, house wine is complimentary.
And if you wish to bring wine onboard, again, there’s no corkage fee.
Something to remember when you’re cruising, say, the Rhine… Think of all those lovely French wines you could pick up in a little wine store in Strasbourg! Or the fresh German Reisling you could buy in Koblenz for sipping on your balcony.
Viking Silver Spirits package
You have the option to upgrade your cruise by buying the Viking Silver Spirits premium beverage package.
The Viking Cruise drink package is available on both the ocean and river cruises.
Viking Ocean Cruises Silver Spirits package:
The cost for the Viking Silver drinks package varies according to the length of the ocean cruise.
For a 7-night cruise, the cost is $139 USD p.p. For a 14-night cruise, the cost is $279 USD p.p.
See all the 2018-2019 rates here.
Note: Both guests in the stateroom must buy the package.
Gratuities are included in the package.
Viking River Cruise Silver Spirits package:
Costs for the upgraded drinks package on the river cruises also vary, depending on the length of the river cruise.
Rates are $150 USD p.p. for a 7-night river cruise; $299 p.p. for a 14-night cruise.
See all Silver Spirits river cruise drinks rates here (for guests booking via a US order form).
Note: Like with the ocean cruises, both guests in the stateroom have to get the package. And you must order and pay for this Viking Silver Spirits beverage package at least 30 days before your cruise.
Is the Viking Silver Spirits package worth it?
Along with certain wines and beer, soft drinks are free too at lunch and dinner. Specialty coffees like cappuccino, tea and bottled water are free 24 hours.
So you have to consider, first, if you’d prefer the premium wines, and second, if your combined consumption of premium wines and bar drinks for the two of you will be more than, say, $560 USD for a 14-night ocean cruise (or $278 for a 7-night cruise).
That’s actually a pretty fair price, considering the cruise drink packages on other lines.
For example, the “premium” Celebrity Cruises drink package is $69 p.p. a day (recently bumped up from $65) – or $1,932 for a 14-night cruise (almost four times as much).
Note: You can still buy premium wines or cocktails even if you don’t get the Viking Silver Spirits beverage package.
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Update December, 2018: After our first cruise on the Viking Star, we wrote a little about the complimentary wine we had via room service after boarding – which helped solve a few getting-to-the-ship woes! We’ve now completely overhauled this post since returning from our recent Viking Sea cruise.
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We’re Janice and George Mucalov, professional award-winning travel writers, sharing tales of luxury travel with a twist of adventure.