21. May 2013 · Comments Off on VIKING’S NEW OCEAN CRUISE LINE REINVENTS DESTINATION OCEAN VOYAGES · Categories: ENGLISH CRUISE RELEASES, GENERAL, VIKING RIVER CRUISES · Tags: , , , , , , ,

First New Ship Will Set Sail on Destination-Focused Itineraries in 2015;

Maiden Voyages Now Available for Booking

Viking Cruises today announced the launch of its ocean product line, Viking Ocean Cruises (www.vikingcruises.com/oceans), marking the introduction of the travel industry’s first new cruise line in nearly a decade. Developed from the ground up to return the focus of cruising to the destination, Viking Ocean Cruises will begin sailing in May 2015 with its first vessel—Viking Star—embarking on maiden voyages in Scandinavia and the Baltic; and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean. Viking Cruises has aggressive expansion plans in both the ocean and river cruise categories, with a second ocean ship on order for delivery in 2016 and conditional orders and options for four more additional ocean vessels. The ocean ship order follows the company’s continued rapid fleet expansion in the river cruise sector, with 10 new river ships recently christened in March of this year and 12 new river ships planned to launch in 2014.

Viking Star, Ocean Cruise Ship / Photo © Viking River Cruises

Viking Star, Ocean Cruise Ship / Photo © Viking River Cruises

“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 on board experiences to make destinations the true focus.”

Leveraging extensive feedback and input from Viking River Cruises passengers, Viking Ocean Cruises was developed with experienced travellers in mind. Itineraries are curated for maximum time in port, often with late evenings or overnights, so guests can experience local nightlife or evening performances. Ports include both cosmopolitan cities and “collector ports,” and appeal to those with an interest in history, art and culture. In addition, all-inclusive pricing provides unparalleled value—with every cruise fare including a veranda stateroom, shore excursions in each port of call, all on board meals, and all port charges and government taxes. Passengers also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including: beer and wine with lunch and dinner service; wi-fi; self-service laundry and 24-hour room service.

Viking Star

Classified by Cruise Critic as a “small ship,” the new 928-passenger all-veranda Viking Star is engineered at a scale that allows direct access into most ports, so guests have easy and efficient embarkation and debarkation. The ship’s understated elegance and modern Scandinavian design is crafted for maximum guest comfort. Highlighted features include:

· 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 on board.

· Two Pool Choices: In addition to the Main Pool with a retractable dome permitting any-season swimming, Viking Star features one of the only infinity pools at sea, allowing passengers to swim surrounded by their destination in a glass-backed pool cantilevered off the stern.

· The Spa: In keeping with Viking’s Nordic heritage, The Spa on board 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.

· Explorers’ Lounge and Wintergarden: Spaces designed to facilitate mingling and storytelling, the two-deck Explorers’ Lounge at the bow of the ship is the perfect spot for taking in scenery through double-height windows over a glass of aquavit or pint of local craft beer; and the Wintergarden is a serene environment in which to relax and enjoy afternoon tea service complete with a curated tea selection.

· Dining Choices: Viking Star offers multiple restaurant locations and food choices—from The Restaurant and the World Café, serving a variety of global cuisines and regional specialties—to intimate dining experiences at The Chef’s Table, Italian Grill and The Kitchen Table, all serving meals prepared with fresh, local ingredients. Furthermore, with multiple choices for outdoor seating during meals, Viking Star offers more al fresco dining than any other ship.

· Enriching Entertainment: Connecting passengers to their destinations through authentic experiences is central to Viking Cruises, and Viking Star’s on board venues include a dramatic three-deck atrium where passengers can enjoy musicians playing regional and classical music; the Star Theatre, home of enrichment lectures from scholars and experts; an on board cooking school where guests can learn local specialties; and the Viking Piano Lounge, where guests can relax, mingle, and exchange stories after a day of exploring.

· Sustainable Features: Designed with the environment in mind, Viking Star features energy-efficient hybrid engines, a hydro-dynamically optimised streamlined hull and bow for maximum fuel efficiency, on board solar panels, and equipment that minimises exhaust pollution and meets the strictest environmental regulations.

The ship has been designed by experienced nautical architects and engineers, including an interior design team of London-based SMC Design, and Los Angeles-based Rottet Studios. The first of two ocean ships on order, Viking Star will be built by Italy’s Fincantieri shipyard.

2015 Maiden Voyage Itineraries

· Viking Homelands (15 days; Stockholm – St. Petersburg – Copenhagen – Bergen) – This itinerary features a blend of northern continental European cities, imperial Russia and the legendary homeland of the Vikings. The journey includes overnights in Bergen, Stockholm and St. Petersburg, plus calls in Helsinki, Tallinn, Gdansk, Berlin (Warnemünde), Copenhagen, Aalborg, Stavanger, and Flam.

· Passage Through Western Europe (15 days; Bergen – London – Paris – Barcelona) – The nimble proportions of Viking Star give guests access to the heart of the Continent as well as coastal cities on this cross-region itinerary that journeys from the Viking waters of Bergen to London on the Thames, down the Atlantic Coast of France and Portugal, and to the Mediterranean. Ports include Lisbon, Cadiz, Gibraltar, and Cartagena with overnights in Bergen, London, Paris (Rouen) and Barcelona.

· Mediterranean Odyssey (13 days; Barcelona – Rome – Dubrovnik – Venice) – Spain, France, Italy, Croatia and Greece—this cruise has it all. Visit 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 (10 days; Venice – Athens – Ephesus – Istanbul) – From ancient ruins to medieval cities, this Mediterranean journey starts in Venice and journeys to Pula and Dubrovnik in Croatia; Kotor, Montenegro; Santorini, Athens (Piraeus), and Ephesus (Kusadasi), plus an overnight in Istanbul.

Booking Details

The 2015 maiden season is initially being offered only in the U.S.; Viking will begin marketing the new ocean cruises in the UK, Australia and New Zealand later this year.

Viking Star Technical Details

Length overall: 745.4 ft. (227.2m); beam 94.5 ft. (28.8 m); draft 20.7 ft. (6.3 m); air draft 131.2 ft. (40.0 m); gross tonnage (GRT) 47,800 t; deadweight 3,640 t; service speed 20.0 kn; number of decks 14; classification: Lloyds Register.

About Viking Cruises

The Viking Cruises brand now encompasses both river and ocean cruises. Viking Ocean Cruises focuses on destination-centric cruising in the small ship category and is priced for genuine value. Debuting its maiden season in 2015, the sophisticated state-of-the-art Viking Star will sail itineraries in Scandinavia and the Baltic; and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean. Viking River Cruises, the world’s leading river cruise line, offers scenic cruising along the rivers of Europe, Russia, Ukraine, China, Southeast Asia and Egypt. The company was named No. 1 River Cruise Line in Travel + Leisure’s 2012 “World’s Best” Awards and has been honoured multiple times as the top river cruise line on Condé Nast Traveler’s “Gold List.”

It has also been recognized as the World’s Leading River Cruise Operator at the World Travel Awards and by the editors of Cruise Critic as “Best River Cruise Line,” with the entire Viking Longships fleet being named “Best New River Ships of 2012” in the website’s Editors’ Picks Awards. The travel trade has recognized Viking River Cruises as “Best River Cruise Line” by Travel Weekly, “Best River Cruise Line” by Recommend and Travel Agent magazines, Best Cruise Line for Luxury River Cruises at the Luxury Travel Advisor Awards of Excellence and as “Best Overall Cruise Line for River Cruising” and “Best River Cruise Line for Travel Agent Support” by TravelAge West. Since its 1997 inception, the company has grown to a fleet of 35 vessels (in 2013), and provides unique, deluxe vacations to experienced travelers with an interest in geography, culture and history.

For additional information, contact Viking Cruises at 1-855-884-5464 (1-855-8-VIKING) or visit www.vikingcruises.com.

Information source: Viking River Cruises UK

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