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Review: Viking Osiris

An unforgettable and educational cruise aboard an elegant ship with crew that understand laid-back hospitality.
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What is the line? Viking

Name of ship? Viking Osiris

Passenger occupancy? 82 guests

Itinerary? Nile River

Start out with the big picture—what is this cruise line known for? Billing itself as “the thinking person’s cruise,” Viking excels at cultural immersion and educating its guests about the region in which they’re sailing. Expect knowledgeable tour guides, plenty of lectures and educational programming, and informative shore excursions. 

Tell us about the ship in general: Purpose-built for the Nile in 2022, Osiris is a bright and modern vessel that carries just 82 passengers. Replete with chic Scandinavian design touches, including a two-story atrium, the overall atmosphere on board is airy and elegant. There’s also plenty of outdoor space for soaking in views of the lush riverbanks, including a sun deck, plunge pool, and Aquavit terrace.

Who is onboard? The guests are primarily retired couples who are avid travelers, but there are some older families doing multi-generational trips, too. No young children, however, as Viking’s minimum age across its fleet is 18 years old.

Describe the cabins: I was in a 409-square-foot Veranda Suite, which to me felt massive. There was a separate living room with a seating area and work space. The bedroom was also spacious with a sturdy queen bed, one of the most comfortable I’ve slept in while traveling, and a generous closet. I had two private verandas—one off the bedroom, the other off the living room. Other perks of the room were heated floors in the bathroom, a complimentary minibar, and a built-in bookcase with recessed lighting stocked with apt tomes such as The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead. Everything is designed in the crisp and modern Nordic style, with wood accents and clean lines. 

Tell us about the crew: Friendly, helpful, light-hearted, and knowledgeable. My tour guide was from Cairo and had PhD-level knowledge of Egyptology. She made each ancient site come alive, deciphering hieroglyphics and vividly describing Egyptian rituals at the various temples we visited. Likewise, service staff in the ship’s bars and restaurants are warm and attentive without being intrusive. 

What food and drink options are available on board? The ship has one main restaurant—simply called The Restaurant. In addition to serving up delicious classic American fare, like burgers and fries, pastas, and steaks, our cruise included an Egyptian family-style dinner featuring local dishes like sish tawook and lamb rack, bouri mashwi, beef kofte, and kobeiba with grilled eggplant. There’s also the Aquavit Terrace, adjacent to the pool area, for casual breakfasts and lunches al fresco (don’t miss the fresh mango juice at breakfast), as well as the lounge for cocktail hour complete with a live piano performance. 

Is there a spa on board and is it worth visiting? There’s no spa on Osiris, but the plunge pool on the ship’s aft deck is worth checking out—especially while sailing at sunset with a cocktail in hand.

Activities and entertainment Aside from the pool and drinking in the views, the main form of onboard entertainment is lectures. Osiris’s informative crew give engaging talks on everything from Ancient Egyptian mythology to the changing cultural fabric in modern Egypt. You should plan to attend at least a couple during your voyage, or you’d be missing out.

How was the experience for families? Viking cruises are adults-only, but it would be a perfect ship for a family with grown children to do a reunion or multi-gen trip. 

Where did it sail and how were the excursions? Did anything stand out? Our voyage was an abbreviated version of Osiris’s usual Pharaohs and Pyramids itinerary. The beauty of Viking’s approach is blending the bucket-list highlights with lesser known hidden gems. Itineraries start in Cairo with a visit to the Egyptian Museum and the Pyramids of Giza. Guests then board a chartered flight to Luxor, where they embark on the ship. In Luxor, guests tour Luxor Temple and the Valley of the Kings, with the option of taking a breathtaking hot air balloon ride at dawn over the site. Then it's onward to smaller villages Qena and Esna to experience a slice of what life is like along the Nile. The itinerary also includes an overnight in Aswan before sailing back to Luxor for a departure charter flight to Cairo. 

Finally, give a sentence or two on why the cruise is worth booking. Book this cruise for once-in-a-lifetime immersion in both Ancient and modern Egypt. From the ship’s atmosphere, to the excursions and tours, to the knowledgeable crew, this is truly a voyage you will never forget. 

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