Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
sports-focused ships, broadway shows, quiet days at sea, kids programs
Viking Ocean may be a new cruise line, but the people behind it are no strangers to the luxury cruise business. The principals include Torstein Hagen, the current CEO of Viking River Cruises who was also a past CEO of Royal Viking Line - the cruise line that is generally credited with having created the concept of luxury cruise ships starting as far back as 1972.
Taking its cues from River Boat stylings, Viking Star offers open seating dining with wine and drinks onboard all included in basic cost of the cruise. But river cruises also include all the shore excursions, and until now only one luxury cruise line did that; Regent Seven Seas, but now there is a new one - Viking Ocean.
Viking Star is 48,000 gross tons, 754 feet long by 94.5 feet wide and with 928- passenger berths. But what really differentiates the line is that shore excursions are included in the cruise fare and offered to all passengers onboard. These ships' itineraries only include one day at sea on each cruise (average cruise length anywhere from 9 to 15 days) and will otherwise be in port. There are also be "premium shore tours" available at an added cost, but these are usually be offered at night so not to interfere with the included excursion.
Each cruise offers at least three overnight stays, most importantly in the embarkation and disembarkation cities - where people often do not have time to see the best sights in the region. The ship spends slightly over 12 hours in port per day, than any other cruise line currently in service
However, Viking Cruises' even with all this inclusivity Viking Ocean is not a new luxury cruise line. The competition is Holland America, Princess, Celebrity and Oceania, known as the "premium" and "upper premium" space. In fact, the priginal Renaissance Cruise Line (which folded in 2001) was the model for Viking Cruises; a destination-focused cruise line with small but comfortable ships featuring locally inspired gourmet food and alternative dining rooms at no additional costs. It is no coincidence that Oceania Cruises, the line that appears to be closest to what Tor plans to offer today, also was spawned by the same people who ran Renaissance Cruises.
To sum up CEP Tor Hagen - "the average ship is a drinking man's cruise, while a river cruise is a thinking man's cruise."
The ships look a great deal the Viking River Cruises river boats - except expanded to considerably larger size. The beautiful staterooms are similarly sized and utile smallish for a premium cruise ships, but very well appointed with mini-bars, big screen televisions, wi-fi (free while in port) and big showers and bathrooms.
The main public rooms are simple - dining rooms and a large lounge for lectures. The focus on Viking Star is destinations, not sitting by the pool (although there is a pool) - and so the ship is in port almost every day of every cruise. Shore tours are pre-organized and included in the cruise fare. The lounge is mostly used for port lectures, and for visiting and enjoying coffee or tea during the day.
The focus is on comfort and good food as the ship takes its guests to long visits in a variety of ports of call. There will be plenty of shipboard "enrichment," meaning lectures, themed buffets featuring of local food and wine and experts onboard to answer questions about the local region.
The ship-wide dress code will be informal all the time -no formal nights or neckties ever required.
"An open and airy design" describes the look of the 928-passenger vessel.
What is normally called a "Lido Buffet" on most ships will be called the "World Café" and will feature a variety of cuisine offered at separate serving stations. There will also be two specialty restaurants on board with no surcharges for any special dining onboard.
One of those is the "Aquavit Terrace" which surrounds the middle pool for al fresco dining. That aft pool will feature something never seen on a cruise ship before - a glass wall so people can look out over the aft end of the ship from below the water.
Entertainment is simple - a piano bar. There are no stage shows. The main event for each evening is a spectacular dinner after which most eople will retire to their staterooms to get ready for the next day of seeing the world.
All staterooms will have a veranda - no exceptions- and will average 270 square feet - about 20% larger than the other cruise lines.
All Veranda Staterooms: Guests can choose from five stateroom categories, starting from a 270 sq. ft. veranda stateroom, all with private verandas, king-size beds, large showers, and LCD TVs.
Explorer Suites: Viking Star 's 14 Explorer Suites are two-room suites ranging from 757 to 1,448 sq. ft. and offer sweeping views from wrap-around private verandas as well as the most amenities and privileges of any category onboard.
tastefully casual at all times - no sandals or shorts at dinner
Travelers, not cruisers, people who want to see the world in the comfort nd convenience of a cruise ship
The first true cruise ship launched by Viking River Cruises, now with a new branch called Viking Ocean.
Best For People Who Want
The all-inclusive luxury cruise style of Regent or river cruises in a cruise ship
The Spa area has a large "thermal suite" - an inexpensive self-service access area with a large hot tub, a hot dry sauna and a "snow room," for the "true Scandinavians." There is a lovely "Wintergarden" with plenty of glass wall and ceiling panels to allow natural flora to thrive. The top deck swimming pool will have a magrodome, making it either an indoor or outdoor pool, depending upon weather conditions.
As far as entertainment goes, the focus of the ship is good food and destinations, not nightlife, so no casino, however, there will a showroom and a piano bar, now tentatively named, "Tor's."
In keeping with Viking's Nordic heritage, The Spa onboard Viking Star is designed with the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia in mind-from the centuries-old tradition of the sauna to a "snow grotto" where snowflakes gently descend from the ceiling through chilled air.