Launched in 2019, Viking Jupiter is the sixth ship in Viking Ocean Cruises' mostly identical fleet of 930-passenger vessels. It carries on the Viking Ocean tradition of focusing on destinations while including a lot of the onboard experience in the fare -- dining, Wi-Fi, drinks at lunch and dinner, and an outstanding spa thermal suite.
Viking Jupiter has a decidedly adult atmosphere, and sedate adults at that. No one under 18 is allowed to sail with Viking, and there are no casino or crazy pool parties. Entertainment trends toward the highbrow -- think Norwegian violinists or an excellent musical presentation on composer Edvard Grieg -- although ABBA and the Beatles revues are also sneaked in there. Lectures with the resident historian and astronomer are packed. While dancing does take place in the Torshavn Lounge, Viking Jupiter is more of a ship for relaxation and enrichment than a rowdy cocktail crawl.
And that's just fine, as Viking Jupiter is a gorgeous place to unwind. The decor is upscale Scandinavian, and the materials used around the ship add to the luxurious feel. Railings and door handles are wrapped in leather, and plush reindeer hides drape sofas. Norwegian and Viking art, as well as black-and-white travel photography, fill the hallways and public spaces; the line has an art app that you can download to take it all in. There are countless comfy nooks where you can read, relax or have a drink.
With Viking Jupiter (and Viking Orion before it), the line has doubled down on its enrichment by installing a 26-seat planetarium. The three daily shows, booked in advance, are a hot ticket onboard; some are in 3D. The ship also carries a resident astronomer, who gives lectures on NASA and other topics; a resident historian, who gives talks that are related to the destination; and on our cruise, a brigadier general who served as a special speaker. Most of the talks are also available on the in-cabin TV if you don't feel like going.
We're not going to blame you for staying in the cabin, as the staterooms on Viking Jupiter are beyond comfy. Every cabin has a balcony and at 270 square feet, even the smallest is spacious by industry standards. Amenities, such as heated bathroom floors, 24-hour complimentary room service (including a hot full breakfast) and carafes of water replenished daily, make you feel pampered.
Dining onboard is thoughtful and robust, with interesting foodie surprises in each restaurant. The Pool Grill, for example, features a "Nordic hot dog," a sausage covered in shrimp salad (it tastes better than it sounds). Mamsen's has the line's signature waffles, plus open-faced Nordic sandwiches. The World Cafe goes beyond a usual buffet with an over-the-top sushi presentation every evening. Add in The Chef's Table, with revolving theme menus, and Manfredi's Italian Restaurant and The Restaurant, which has special destination menus nightly, as well as a vegetarian menu and classic favorites, and you'll see that a weeklong cruise isn't long enough to get it all in.
Other highlights of the ship include the Wintergarden, an indoor–outdoor lounge that's perfect for afternoon tea; two pools, including an infinity pool at the back of the ship and the two-story Atrium, which has electronic tables with maps and games. And finally, don't miss the Nordic thermal spa, with its saunas, hot pools, heated ceramic loungers and snow room. It's the type of amenity that carries an extra charge on other cruise ships. On Viking Jupiter, it's included -- as is most everything you'd want.
Viking Jupiter caters to couples, solos and friends traveling together who are aged 55 or older (although we did see a few younger couples on our Scandinavian sailing). Since the line doesn't allow kids, it's a quieter ship and one that is focused on baby boomer sensibilities. The language onboard is English and the primary nationality is American, as well as British and Australian.
There's a refreshing lack of pretension on Viking Jupiter, and the casual dress code contributes to that. There are no formal or elegant nights onboard.
During the day, passengers wear casual clothing on their shore excursions and also on the ship. At night, people usually change into slightly dressier attire. For women, a dress or dress pants with a blouse is the norm, while men are good with trousers and a button-down or collared shirt; jackets and ties are not required. There's a no-jeans rule in The Restaurant at dinner, so if you want to stay in your shorts or jeans, the World Cafe is available.
Viking Jupiter comes with quite a lot wrapped into the fare, including all dining (yes, specialty restaurants too!); Wi-Fi; self-service laundry; soda, beer and wine at lunch and dinner; and one shore excursion in every port.
The Silver Spirits drink package costs $19.95 per person, per day and covers any alcoholic drink onboard up to $15 (it also covers a premium wine pairing at The Chef's Table and gives you a 15 percent discount on bottles of wine). One nice perk on Viking Jupiter is that you can bring beverages onboard without paying a corkage fee.
Onboard currency is the U.S. dollar. The recommended gratuity is US$15 per person, per day (except for passengers from Australia and New Zealand) and it's automatically added to onboard bills. Passengers can make adjustments by visiting the customer service desk. Alcoholic beverage purchases levy an automatic 15 percent tip. Tips are not automatically added to spa services and tips to local drivers and guides is not included. These cash tips can be paid directly at the end of your tour.
Refined, yet relaxed, with an emphasis on fine dining and long port days; highlights are free Wi-Fi, plus wine and beer at meals; holds about 1,000.
Thoughtfully designed ship, with gorgeous pool and spa, carries 930 passengers on destination-focused cruises; fares include Wi-Fi, select shore tours and drinks with meals.
All-balcony ship carries 930 passengers and impresses with airy design, multiple dining venues and gorgeous pool deck; fares include wine with meals, Wi-Fi, tours, spa access.