|The launch of Viking Ocean Cruises and its first ship of the new ocean-going fleet, the Viking Star, scheduled to debut May 2015. All photos: © Viking Cruises. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Viking Cruises made a huge Nordic splash in Beverly Hills, CA, on Thursday with the launch of their brand new Viking Ocean Cruises product line! Sister company to the global leader of river cruising, Viking River Cruises, Viking Ocean will take the Viking brand to the next level with the launch of destination-focused European ocean cruises to sail in the Mediterranean, Adriatic, North and Baltic Seas. With the debut of its first ship, the Viking Star in May 2015, you can expect this new class of ocean liners to be infused with the finely appointed elegance that Viking is world renowned but on a grander scale. A sister ship, yet to be named, will sail on her maiden voyage in 2016 and right now, Viking has conditional orders and options for four additional ocean cruise liners—a mark of their aggressive plan to expand this new venture. But it's not all about ocean liners because after Viking River Cruises set world records with the debut of 10 Viking Longships at a mega Christening event last March, they plan to kick it up a notch and debut 12 more next year! Now that's growth!
Until now, little was known about the new Viking Ocean product other than a teaser press release announced in April last year. But that all changed Thursday night when Torstein Hagen, Viking Chairman, slowly unveiled the product and his rationale for embarking on this new venture inspired by Viking River Cruises passengers. One by one, passenger demographics, ship features and stunning artist renderings were presented and captured the attention of the social media spheres as evidenced by the buzz Viking generated across the social networks. As you know, I am a HUGE Viking River Cruises fan and this announcement of a new Viking product in Europe sent me over the moon despite the fact that I am not a big ocean-cruising fan.
|Viking Ocean Cruises will feature the industry's FIRST-EVER infinity pool aboard the Viking Star.|
All photos: © Viking Cruises. Unauthorized use is prohibited.
"It is our view that in the race to build bigger ships, many cruise lines have lost sight of the destinations to which they sail," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. "With our new ocean cruises, we are applying the same principles behind our award-winning river cruises to our itinerary and ship design; privileged-access excursions; and onboard experiences to make destinations the true focus."
With a laser focus on maximizing destination immersion, Viking will offer guests enriching shore excursions to experience the cultures, art and history with extended stays in each of the destinations they will visit, including overnights in some of the ports to allow the opportunity to enjoy the evenings after all the other tourists have gone for the day. Now this is my kind of cruising in Europe!
The Viking Star
|The Viking Star Piano Atrium Lounge. All photos: © Viking Cruises. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Relatively smaller by industry standards, the 928-passenger Viking Star combines state-of-the-art-Scandinavian design, "green" technology and understated elegance you've come to expect with the Viking products plus:
- Five categories of staterooms starting at 270-sq. ft. and ALL with verandahs, Wi-Fi, large bathrooms and LCD TVs.
|Deluxe Verandah Stateroom onboard the Viking Star. All photos: © Viking Cruises. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
- 14 Explorer Suites ranging from 757 to 1,448 sq. ft.
- Two-deck Explorers' Lounge; a "super-sized" Aquavit Terrace, one of the innovations from Viking's longships; and the Wintergarden that beckons with the delights of afternoon tea.
|What a view from the Viking Star's Explorers' Lounge. All photos: © Viking Cruises. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
|Afternoon light pours in from the glass ceiling of the Wintergarden—the perfect gathering place for afternoon tea. All photos: © Viking Cruises. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
|The Aquavit Lounge, my favorite space on the Viking Longships, is taken to the next level onboard the Viking Star. All photos: © Viking Cruises. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
- Main pool with retractable roof plus the industry's first infinity pool located aft that will take your breath away
- Sauna and believe it or not, a snow grotto with falling snow flakes
- Multiple dining locations serving regional specialties as well as American classics and all with complimentary beer and wine at lunch and dinner:
- The World Café
- Italian Grill serves up a taste of Tuscany
- Chef's Table complete with pairings of course
- The Kitchen Table
|The Restaurant is just one of the multiple dining locations onboard and offers an exquisite setting and panoramic views for your dining pleasure. All photos: © Viking Cruises. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
|The World Café offers yet another dining choice while onboard. All photos: © Viking Cruises. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
- Your choice of destination excursions offering enriching experiences in culture, art and history. And because of Viking Star's intimate size, the ship will be able to cruise into ports not usually visited by the mega cruise liners, bringing their guests even closer to the destinations!
- Entertainment includes lectures in the Star Theatre; concerts in the three-deck atrium; an onboard cooking school; and the Tor Lounge, named after Viking's founding father.
|Look at this main pool with retractable roof. All photos: © Viking Cruises. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Viking Star 2015 Itineraries
- Viking Homelands—a 15-day cruise through Viking country from Stockholm to St. Petersburg and Copenhagen to Bergen; plus stops in Helsinki, Tallinn, Gdansk, Berlin (Warnemünde), Aalborg, Stavanger and Flåm.
- Passage Through Western Europe—another 15-day cruise through Bergen, Norway; London's Thames (thanks to Viking Star's intimate size); Paris (Rouen); Lisbon; and Spain's Cadiz, Gibraltar, Cartagena and Barcelona
- Mediterranean Odyssey—this 13-day cruise will take the Viking Star to Toulon, France; Monte Carlo; Tuscany (Livorno), Rome and Naples in Italy; Corfu (Kerkira) Greece; Dubrovnik and Split in Croatia; plus overnights in Barcelona and Venice.
- Empires of the Mediterranean—a 10-day cruise voyage that begins in Venice and travels to Pula and Dubrovnik in Croatia; Kotor, Montenegro; Greece's Santorini, Athens (Piraeus), and Ephesus (Kusadasi); plus an overnight in Istanbul.
- Combination Cruises—combine any of the above from 22 to 50 days as well. Imagine 50 days of cruising through Europe!
- Early Booking Discounts available through July 31, 2013. Visit VikingOceans.com for more information.
Stay tuned as more updates on this exciting new venture find their way here on EuroTravelogue! Bon Voyage!