New Viking Star Sailing on Maiden Voyage
PHOTO: The Viking Star sails from Istanbul, past Hagia Sophia. (All photos courtesy of Viking Ocean Cruises)
The first ship of a new cruise line has embarked on its maiden voyage.
Viking Ocean Cruises’ 47,800-ton, 930-passenger Viking Star now is sailing from Istanbul to Venice and will head for Norway, where it will be christened on May 17 in Bergen during a citywide celebration on Norwegian Constitution Day.
The company was founded by Torstein Hagen, who also started the fast-growing Viking River Cruises. Two sister ships are on order — Viking Sky and Viking Sea — and scheduled for delivery over the next two years. All three will sail in Scandinavia and the Baltic, and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean.
Hagen said the new line focuses on the destinations. “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,” Hagen said. “With our new ocean cruises, we have created a new kind of vessel that is smaller in size and smarter in design, offering an alternative to today’s mega liners. Along with our privileged-access excursions and onboard enrichment, we have made the destination the true focus of our new ocean cruises.”
Viking Star has 465 staterooms, each with its own veranda. The interior is a light-filled, modern Scandinavian décor with clean lines, woven textiles and light wood.
The ship has some stunning features and public spaces. For example, a glass-backed infinity pool is cantilevered off the stern.
Viking Star infinity pool
The spa, in keeping with the Nordic holistic wellness philosophy, features a hydrotherapy pool and a snow room and is decorated with Swedish limestone, black slate, juniper and teak wood details, recycled and etched opaque glass, and cast iron.
In the Wintergarden, blonde wood “trees” stretch branches to the glass ceiling, forming a lattice canopy over a space where guests can enjoy afternoon tea service.
Viking Star Wintergarden
And in the Viking Living Room, a geometric garden was inspired by the wild lichen of Norway’s Finse Mountain Plateau.
The two-deck Explorers’ Lounge at the bow of the ship features astronomical maps, antique globes, astrolabes and sofas with cozy pelts.
Dining options include the World Café, which serves global cuisine with live cooking and open kitchens. Mamsen’s features Norwegian deli-style fare based on the recipes of Hagen’s mother, Ragnhild, otherwise known as “Mamsen.” Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant offers authentic Tuscan and Roman cuisine. The Kitchen Table offers cooking classes and at night transforms into an interactive dinner with Viking’s chefs.
Itineraries are designed for maximum time in port, often with late evenings or overnights. Every cruise includes guided excursions in each port, but there’s also an optional program that offer privileged-access experiences, such as a private visit to Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey, at night; cooking with a countess in Venice; a sailing lesson from Toulon, France; and kayaking in a Norwegian fjord.
Through April 30, Viking is offering two-for-one pricing and savings of up to $750 per person on international air. Viking fares include shore excursions, port charges and government taxes, beer and wine with lunch and dinner, Wi-Fi, self-service laundry and 24-hour room service.
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