With Viking Star, Viking is actively targeting the same sort of folks who might sail with lines like Azamara Club Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line and Oceania Cruises, yet Viking Ocean Cruises offers guests a completely different ship — and an innovative onboard product.
For starters, the ship: Viking Star features a glass-backed infinity pool, a two-story forward-facing observation lounge and all-balcony accommodations. These are just a handful of the features that set the 930-guest Viking Star apart from her competitors, not to mention sleek, nautical styling that Torstein Hagen himself was quick to point out during the launch of the new cruise line at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles in March of 2013.
Viking’s onboard program is equally impressive: One complimentary shore excursion in each port. Complimentary beverages, including wines and beers with lunch and dinner. Complimentary wi-fi internet access. Real king-sized beds. No charges for dining in specialty restaurants.
And Viking offer its cruises at a lower cost than its competitors.
Viking Star’s main dining room is called The Restaurant, featuring local specialties alongside classic American fare. Much of the food is based on the itinerary being operated, such as Venetian risotto on sailings from Venice, or perhaps a traditional Turkish meze as Viking Star sails the Bosphorus.
Other dining options include the internationally themed World Café located on Deck 7, and on deck 2, Manfredi’s and The Chef’s Table, the ship’s signature restaurants. Both offer intimate experiences and authentic cuisine. Viking has come up with an interesting concept to control the availability of these experiences: Rather than offer them at an additional surcharge, Viking has made the restaurants available reservations-only depending on the stateroom category booked.
Like the Viking Longships, Viking Star has an Aquavit Terrace, which faces aft, toward the striking Infinity Pool, as opposed to forward on the Viking Longships.
The Silver Spirits beverage package covers special wines-by-glass selections, beers, espresso drinks, juices and mineral water for the entire duration of your cruise, plus cocktails and a bottle of sparkling wine. The Silver Spirits Beverage Package goes for US $29.95 per day, per person.
Viking Star features all-balcony staterooms that come in five categories:
Viking Star operates a variety of itineraries in Western and Northern Europe, along with sailings through the sun-splashed islands of the Mediterranean.
These include the 15-day Viking Homelands from Stockholm to Bergen; the 15-day Passage through Eastern Europe from Bergen to Barcelona; the 13-day Mediterranean Odyssey from Barcelona to Venice; the 10-day Empires of the Mediterranean from Venice to Istanbul; and three multi-voyage segments that range in length from 22 to 50 days.
Viking has every chance of making Viking Star the darling of the cruise industry in 2015 by bringing the company’s experience and identity from the river cruise arena to deep-ocean cruising.
We’ve cruised on her twice already. Read our reports here: Search all of our stories, including first-hand reports, from Viking Star.