2015—the Year of the Vikings—Viking Cruises that is!
|A new era in ocean cruising is about to begin with the most anticipated ship of the year—Viking Ocean Cruises' Viking Star. Photo: ©Viking Cruises.|
While Viking Cruises won't be shattering world records as they've done for the last two consecutive years, they will redefine ocean cruising as we know it today. In April, 2015, Viking Cruises will embark on new horizons, oceans filled with of opportunities to discover new destinations, new cultures and new memories in the making—a new dawn for the Viking age—Viking Ocean Cruises and the much anticipated arrival of her first ship, Viking Star, soon to be followed by two more ocean-going vessels next year—all to sail the European seas.
|Viking shattered its own world record when it launched 14 Viking Longships in March 2014. Photo: ©Viking Cruises.|
And if that isn't enough to have you reeling with excitement, Viking River Cruises will launch 12 new ships as well: 10 of its award-winning Viking Longships and two uniquely designed vessels to navigate the Elbe River in Europe; bringing the total to a staggering 64 river-cruising vessels!
It's no secret I am in love with Viking and the superior product they provide, but I believe they'll outdo themselves once again in 2015 despite not setting a world record, with the debut of Viking Oceans and the continued expansion of the river-cruise products. Truly, 2015 will be a year to remember—a year for the Vikings—conquering the rivers and the seas!
Viking Longships and the Rivers of Europe
|In 2012, Viking Cruises launched a new generation of river-going vessels—the Viking Longships. Here is the Viking Odin in Volendam Netherlands. Photo: EuroTravelogue™.|
Let's start on the rivers of Europe. Introducing the Viking Longships. With their debut in 2012, Viking launched the next generation of river-going vessels—enhanced engineering, elegantly appointed interiors and "green" technology. Among the innovations: energy-efficient hybrid engines for smooth sailing along the rivers of Europe; solar panels to harness the sun; the indoor/outdoor Aquavit (Waters of Life) Terrace that brings the outdoors in and provides sweeping panoramic views of the landscapes ahead. There's even an herb garden for harvesting only the freshest ingredients.
|Viking Longship Atrium Lobby. Photo: EuroTravelogue™.|
Tastefully decorated, the Scandinavian interiors are nothing short of elegant from the public gathering spaces to the well-appointed staterooms with a view! Accommodating 190 guests in 95 staterooms, these vessels are quite intimate and before long, you're friends with everyone. To sum it all up, elegance and efficiency combined with Viking traditions and intimate settings are at the heart of these magnificent longships!
New itineraries for 2015
On March 24, 2015, 10 more of these intrepid vessels will join Viking's fleet with the promise of new itineraries as well. In addition to the Viking Longships, two new ships specifically designed for the Elbe River will debut and double Viking's presence on the Elbe. Providing even more intimate settings than the longships, the elegant Elbe vessels—Viking Astrid and Viking Beyla will accommodate 98 guests in 49 staterooms and will feature Viking's signature Aquavit Terrace, hybrid engines, solar power—among those mentioned above.
These new ships will ply the waters of the Elbe on 10-day voyage, the "Elegant Elbe" from Berlin to Prague combining hotel stays and a cruise through Eastern Germany with visits to six UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Viking Oceans—Sailing European Seas onboard the Viking Star
Viking Oceans will redefine ocean cruising when it begins its maiden voyages of the Viking Star in April. With it launches a new class of ocean liners infused with the Scandinavian elegance for which Viking is well known for. And it doesn't stop there. Next year, sister ships Viking Sky and the Viking Sea will enter service with all three conquering Scandinavia, the Baltic and the Mediterranean.
Laser-focused on destination immersion
“The introduction of Viking Star next year will represent a distinct change in ocean cruising—an alternative to the mega-liners dominating the world’s ports,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. “It is our view that in the race to build enormous ships, some cruise lines have lost sight of the destinations to which they sail. Based on the incredible response we have received, it is clear that our guests want a new experience to truly explore their destinations.”
|Viking Star Float-out Ceremony on June 23, 2014. Photo: Viking Cruises.|
Inspired by past guests and world explorers alike, the new itineraries will offer enriching immersions in the arts, histories and cultures of the destinations visited. And because of Viking Star's intimate size, the ship will be able to cruise into ports not usually visited by the mega ships which means Viking will bring their guests even closer to the destinations! Plus, with extended time in ports, guests will now be able to enjoy late-evening concerts and local nightlife.
The Viking Ocean Cruise Ships
Relatively small by industry standards, the 928-passenger Viking Star combines state-of-the-art design with "green" technology and Scandinavian elegance you've come to expect with Viking, plus:
|Deluxe Veranda Stateroom. Photo: ©Viking Cruises.|
- Five categories of all-veranda staterooms starting at 270-sq. ft. with Wi-Fi, king-size beds, large bathrooms and LCD TVs—your home away from home on the seas.
- 14 Explorer's Suites will debut ranging from 757 to 1,163 sq. ft., each offering sweeping panoramic views from their wrap-around decks.
- Two-story Explorer Lounge at the bow of the ship will provide the perfect setting for lectures as well as mingling with other Viking guests.
|The two-story Explorer Lounge offers incredible views of the voyage ahead. Photo: ©Viking Cruises.|
- The signature Aquavit Terrace, one of my favorite places on the Viking longships, makes its appearance on the ocean-going vessels but in true Viking fashion, a much grander in scale. It will be located aft adjacent to the infinity pool.
|Overlooking the industry's FIRST infinity pool will be Viking's Signature Aquavit Terrace. Photo: ©Viking Cruises.|
- For afternoon tea, head to the Winter Garden for a relaxing afternoon tea and biscuits.
|The Wintergarden Lanai is a perfect place to enjoy an afternoon tea. Photo: ©Viking Cruises.|
- Main pool with retractable roof plus the industry's first infinity pool located aft. Sure to take your breath away.
|Viking Oceans Cruises will introduce the industry's first infinity pool adjacent to the Aquavit Terrace. Photo: ©Viking Cruises.|
- The Spa onboard embraces Scandinavia's holistic wellness philosophy from sauna to snow grotto with gently falling snow flakes!
|The World Café. Photo: ©Viking Cruises.|
- Multiple dining locations serving regional specialties as well as American classics and all with complimentary beer and wine at lunch and dinner:
- The Restaurant and the World Café serve up global cuisines and regional specialties.
- Italian Grill with a tastes of Tuscany.
- Chef's Table complete with pairings of course.
- The Kitchen Table serving fresh, locally-sourced ingredients.
- Of course, 24-hour in-room dining will always be available.
- The Theatre will feature live productions as well as lectures
- Not one but TWO cinemas will show first-run films and destination classics like "Roman Holiday" and "Room with a View."
Now see the Viking Star for yourself:
Viking Oceans Itineraries
- Viking Homelands—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—15 days of cruising 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—13-day cruise to Toulon, France; Monte Carlo; Tuscany (Livorno), Rome and Naples, Corfu (Kerkira) Greece; Dubrovnik and Split in Croatia; plus overnights in Barcelona and Venice.
- Empires of the Mediterranean—10 days beginning in Venice and cruising to Pula and Dubrovnik in Croatia; Kotor, Montenegro; Santorini, Athens (Piraeus), and Ephesus (Kusadasi) in Greece and an overnight stay in Istanbul.
- Uniquely Viking, Combination Cruises combine any of the aforementioned cruises from 22 to 50 glorious days and nights and an unforgettable cruise through Europe!
Viking Star Christening on May 17, 2015
|The Viking Star will be Christened in Bergen, Norway, on May 17, Norwegian Constitution Day. Photo: EuroTravelogue™.|
Stay tuned right here as we usher in a new era of ocean cruising with Viking. The Viking Star will be Christened in Norway with godmother Trude Drevland, the major of Bergen, performing the time-honored traditions in a ceremony on May 17, 2015—Norwegian Constitution Day.
Have you sailed with Viking?
Are you a past guest of Viking River Cruises? Are you excited about Viking's expansion into Ocean Cruising? What are you most looking forward to with onboard Viking Oceans? Please tell me all about your experiences below.