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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Viking Star sets sail on maiden voyage



First Ship for Viking Ocean Cruises Launches New Era in Destination-Focused Travel

Viking Ocean Cruises (www.vikingoceancruises.com.au) today announced its first ship, Viking Star, has embarked on her maiden voyage from Istanbul to Venice, thus launching the travel industry's first entirely new cruise line in a decade. From Venice, Viking Star will make her way through the Mediterranean and into the Atlantic on her way to be officially christened in Bergen, Norway during a citywide celebration on May 17 – Norwegian Constitution Day. Developed from the ground up to return the focus of cruising to the destination, Viking Ocean Cruises also has two additional sister ships on order – Viking Sky and Viking Sea – all of which will sail itineraries in Scandinavia and the Baltic; and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean.  

"We have always believed that cruising should be about connecting you to your destination – not just taking you to places on a map. 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 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 on board enrichment, we have made the destination the true focus of our new ocean cruises."

A Ship Designed for Destination Cruising

Classified by Cruise Critic as a "small ship," Viking Star has a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons and accommodates 930 passengers in 465 staterooms – each with its own veranda. Engineered at a scale that allows direct access into most ports, guests have an easy and efficient embarkation and disembarkation, allowing them more time to spend enjoying each destination.

Light-filled with modern Scandinavian décor, Viking Star was designed by experienced nautical architects and engineers, including the same interior design team responsible for the award-winning fleet of Viking Longships. Throughout the ship, details were incorporated to pay homage to Nordic heritage and to help guests immerse themselves in local surroundings. A glass-backed infinity pool cantilevered off the stern offers unobstructed views; indoor-outdoor spaces offer more options for al fresco dining than any other vessel in its class; huge windows and skylights blur the lines between inside and out; and a wrap-around promenade deck nods to a bygone era of classic ocean liners.

On board Viking Star, clean lines, woven textiles and light wood evoke the Viking spirit of discovery and connection to the natural world. A carefully curated collection of Scandinavian artwork adorns the walls of the restaurants and public spaces. In the two-deck Explorers' Lounge at the bow of the ship, the décor was inspired by ancient Viking trade routes and navigation methods – imagery of star constellations and astronomical maps are complemented by antique globes, astrolabes and sofas with cosy pelts. In the Spa, the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia is in mind – from the Nordic ritual of the hydrotherapy pool and the first Snow Room at sea, to materials inspired by Scandinavian nature: Swedish limestone and black slate; juniper and teak wood details; recycled and etched opaque glass; and cast iron. In the Wintergarden, blonde wood "trees" stretch their branches up to the glass ceiling, forming a lattice canopy over a serene space where guests can enjoy afternoon tea service. And in the Viking Living Room, a geometric garden was inspired by the wild lichen of Norway's Finse Mountain Plateau.

Destination-Focused Enrichment

Leveraging extensive feedback and input from Viking River Cruises passengers, Viking Ocean Cruises was developed with experienced travellers in mind. Itineraries are designed for maximum time in port, often with late evenings or overnights, so guests can experience local culture at night or evening performances. Ports include both cosmopolitan cities and "collector ports," appealing to those with an interest in history, art, music, and cuisine.

While on board, guests will enjoy informative talks from local experts and carefully selected lecturers in The Theatre. Dining options on board Viking Star elevate food as a cultural experience – the World Café features global cuisine with live cooking and open kitchens; Mamsen's features Norwegian deli-style fare, according to the recipes of Hagen's mother, Ragnhild, otherwise known as "Mamsen;" and Manfredi's Italian Restaurant embraces authentic Tuscan and Roman cuisine.  In the Kitchen Table, the high-tech space offers cooking classes featuring a wide range of regionally inspired dishes and culinary techniques; at night it transforms into an interactive dinner experience with fellow guests and Viking's esteemed chefs.

While every cruise fare includes a guided excursion in each port, Viking's optional excursion program was designed to provide guests with enriching privileged-access experiences that go beyond the iconic and expected. Highlighted examples include:

Booking Details

Viking Inclusive Pricing provides unparalleled value—with every cruise fare including a veranda stateroom, shore excursions in each port of call, all on board meals, gratuities 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 US$2,400 per couple for an average cruise.

Contact a travel agent or call Viking toll free at 1300 062 326 (Australia) or 0800 447 913 (New Zealand).

For additional information, contact Viking Cruises at 1800 131 744 (Australia) & 0800 447 913 (New Zealand) or visit www.vikingcruises.com.au.

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