Viking Star, Two Ways

This past week, the Avid Cruiser‘s own Ralph Grizzle has been sailing onboard Viking Cruises‘ brand-new (and first-ever) oceangoing cruise ship, Viking Star. During that time, he’s filed an amazing series of reports, including a firsthand video look at what makes this new ship so exciting.

Produced by Ralph Grizzle | Cinematography by Chris Stanley, Amber Pacific Studios

Filmed aboard Viking Star Barcelona to Lisbon, May 2 through May 7, 2015

Ralph’s Live Voyage Report from onboard the trendsetting Viking Star:

As in-depth as Ralph’s reports are, we always like to cover every concievable angle – particularly with a new ship like this. So this week, we’re trading places. I’ll get my own shot at Viking Star as I sail aboard her from Greenwich (London) to the Hanseatic port of Bergen, Norway, to witness her christening ceremonies on Sunday, May 17, 2015.  To fully understand why she’s such a special ship, you first have to understand the Norwegian propensity for tenacity.

Once upon a time, there was a Norwegian man by the name of Roald Amundsen. Born in the small parish of Borge in 1872, he would go on to become one of the world’s most daring and successful polar explorers of all time.

Viking Star docked in Cadiz, Spain. © 2015 Ralph Grizzle
Viking Star docked in Cadiz, Spain. © 2015 Ralph Grizzle

He also had a great talent for doing what others couldn’t: Despite centuries of failed expeditions to the North and South Poles, Amundsen ending up claiming both victories for himself and for Norway in 1926 and 1911, respectively. He also singlehandedly succeeded in discovering the fabled Northwest Passage in 1906. A one-man-wrecking-ball, Amundsen was a huge thorn in the side of contemporaries like Scott, Shackleton, and Mawson simply for his freakish ability to succeed in the face of extreme odds.

Viking Cruises founder Torstein Hagen is a bit like Amundsen – and not just because he’s of Norwegian descent. No. I draw the parallel between Hagen and Amundsen because of both men’s dogged determination to succeed where others have failed, and due to their willingness to challenge conventional thought.

At the helm of one of the most unbelievably successful (river) cruise lines of all time, you’d think that after earning two consecutive Guinness World Records for most ships launched in a single day (Viking Longships, 2013 and 2014) and the fact that the company just can’t build more Longships fast enough to keep up with the demand, that Hagen might feel secure enough to kick back. Relax. Have an aquavit. The man is, after all, in his 70’s.

Viking's hugely successful Viking Longship river cruise vessels arguably paved the way for Viking Star's existence. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
Viking’s hugely successful Viking Longship river cruise vessels arguably paved the way for Viking Star’s existence. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

That assumption would be to underestimate Hagen’s plans for the future. That future includes ocean cruising – Viking style. And that’s where the brand-new, 930-guest Viking Star comes in.

Viking’s first-ever oceangoing cruise ship is generating a lot of buzz – and deservedly so. After all, the line is bucking several trends in the industry by building a midsized ship that holds just under a thousand guests who will be staying in all-balcony accommodations – all of which feature an enormous amount of inclusions.

Although Ralph and I have several colleagues who have cruised aboard Viking Star recently, we’ve both made concerted efforts to look and read nothing they’ve written, for one basic reason: We wanted to discover our own Viking Star. Having said that, here’s what excites me most about this cool 754-foot long ship:

  • Viking Longship-Styling, On The Ocean: I love the soothing Scandinavian styling and sensibilities of Viking’s trendsetting river cruise ships, and seeing what interior designers can do when given a substantially larger canvas is exciting to me.
  • Say hello to complimentary shore excursion options; beer, wine and soft drinks with lunch and dinner; 24-hour specialty coffees and teas; and no specialty restaurant fees.
  • No tacky s**t. If you’re looking for robot bartenders, surfing simulators and circus schools, go to Vegas. This is a ship that truly embraces the beauty of being on the oceans – if early renderings and general arrangement plans are accurate, this ship could be one of the most open and airy on the ocean.
  • Luxury Style Cruising, Half the Price. Viking Star offers some decidedly luxe inclusions, like all-balcony accommodations in staterooms that are far larger than average. Throw in all the complimentary offerings, and Viking is poised to run with the big boys at Oceania, Seabourn and Silversea.

So take the time to catch up with Ralph’s observations from last week and follow along with me as I sail aboard Viking Star from Greenwich (London) to Viking Star’s beautiful Hanseatic port of Bergen, Norway this week – and be sure to tune in on Sunday, May 17, as we witness another slice of history in the homeland of the Vikings!

Viking Star's atrium. © 2015 Ralph Grizzle
Viking Star’s atrium. © 2015 Ralph Grizzle

Our Live Voyage Report aboard Viking Cruises oceangoing Viking Star continues tomorrow from Greenwich, London, England! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.

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