MAY 17, 2013 — Viking Cruises today announced the launch of its ocean product line, Viking Ocean Cruises, which has two cruise ships on order at shipbuilder Fincantieri with conditional orders and options for four more.
Viking says that the launch marks the introduction of the travel industry's first new cruise line in nearly a decade and that the brand has been "developed from the ground up to return the focus of cruising to the destination.
Viking Cruises Chairman Torsten Hager says the destination is the focus of new ocean cruise line
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. Entry into the ocean cruise sector 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.
In line with what Viking describes as its "intimate, destination-focused approach to cruising," the new ocean ships will be small by today's standards at approximately 45,000 GRT and will host 998 passengers in 499 cabins.
"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 onboard experiences to make destinations the true focus."
Leveraging extensive feedback and input from Viking River Cruises passengers, Viking Ocean Cruises was developed with experienced travelers in mind. It says that 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 what Viking calls "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 onboard 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—a value of more than $2,400 per couple for an average cruise, says Viking.
Viking Star is described as "engineered at a scale that allows direct access into most ports, so guests have easy and efficient embarkation and debarkation."
- 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. with wrap-around private verandas'
- Two Pool Choices: In addition to the Main Pool with a retractable dome permitting any-season swimming, Viking Star features a glass-backed infinity pool cantilevered off the stern.
- The Spa: As well as such familiar features as a sauna, the Spa offers a "snow grotto" where "snowflakes gently descend from the ceiling through chilled air."
- Explorers' Lounge and Wintergarden: The two-deck Explorers' Lounge features double-height windows, while the Wintergarden is "a serene environment in which to relax and enjoy afternoon tea service.
- Dining Choices: Viking Star offers multiple restaurant locations and food choices—from The Restaurant and the World Cafe, serving a variety of global cuisines and regional specialties—to intimate dining experiences at The Chef's Table, Italian Grill and The Kitchen Table. With multiple choices for outdoor seating during meals, Viking Star offers more al fresco dining than any other ship.
- Enriching Entertainment: Viking Star's public spaces include a dramatic three-deck atrium where passengers can enjoy musicians playing regional and classical music; the Star Theater, home of enrichment lectures from scholars and experts; an onboard 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 optimized streamlined hull and bow for maximum fuel efficiency, onboard solar panels, and equipment that minimizes exhaust pollution and meets the strictest environmental regulations.
Viking Star Technical Details
Length overall: 745.4 ft. (227.2 m); 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.