In the midst of its biggest year yet, Viking Ocean Cruises® (www.vikingoceancruises.com.au) yesterday celebrated that the company’s newly launched 930-guest Viking Star has been named “Best New Ocean Ship” in the 8th annual Cruise Critic Editors’ Picks Awards. Cruise Critic is the world’s largest online cruise resource, and its Editors’ Picks Awards are one of the industry’s most prestigious honours.
“Receiving Cruise Critic’s top award for Viking Star is an honour and testament to the incredible work of our entire Viking team,” said Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen. “Viking Star marked the arrival of the travel industry’s first entirely new cruise line in a decade and a new era in destination-focused cruising. I could not be more proud to have our first ocean ship receive a 5-star rating from the editorial staff of Cruise Critic and now also be named ‘Best New Ocean Ship of the year.’”
“Viking Oceans Cruises’ innovative flagship, Viking Star, is homey and comfortable after a long day exploring in port. In fact, the ship is so beautifully designed – with terrific alfresco restaurants, a beautiful pool area, a superb spa and the two-level Explorers’ observation lounge – that you’ll be hard-pressed to go ashore,” said the editors of Cruise Critic.
The all-veranda Viking Star is the first of three ocean ships under construction for Viking Ocean Cruises and launched in early 2015. Two additional sister ships, Viking Sea and Viking Sky will be delivered in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Viking’s ocean fleet is engineered at a scale that allows direct access into most ports, so guests have easy and efficient embarkation and disembarkation. Classified by Cruise Critic as “small ships,” the ships feature understated elegance and modern Scandinavian design. Highlights 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:The ships feature 14 Explorer Suites, which are two-room suites ranging from 757 to 1,163 sq. ft. that offer sweeping views from wraparound 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, the ships feature a glass-backed Infinity Pool off the stern, allowing guests to swim surrounded by their destination.
- The Spa:In keeping with Viking’s Nordic heritage, The Spa on board 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 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 hand-selected teas.
- Dining Choices:Viking’s ships offer multiple restaurant locations and food choices—from The Restaurant and the World Café, serving a variety of global cuisines and regional specialties and Mamsen’s, which serves Norwegian deli-style fare—to intimate dining experiences at The Chef’s Table and Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant, complimentary specialty restaurants serving meals prepared with fresh, local ingredients. Furthermore, with multiple choices for outdoor seating during meals, Viking’s ocean ships offer more al fresco dining than any other ships.
- Enriching Entertainment:Connecting guests to their destinations through authentic experiences is central to Viking Cruises, and onboard venues include a dramatic three-deck atrium where guests can enjoy musicians playing regional and classical music; the Theater, home to enrichment lectures from scholars and experts; an onboard cooking school where guests can learn how to prepare local specialties; and Torshavn, a piano lounge where guests can relax, mingle, and exchange stories after a day of exploring.
- Sustainable Features:Designed with the environment in mind, Viking’s ocean ships feature energy-efficient hybrid engines, hydro-dynamically optimised streamlined hulls and bows for maximum fuel efficiency, onboard solar panels, and equipment that minimises exhaust pollution and meets the strictest environmental regulations.
The top honour from Cruise Critic comes at a time of continually increasing traveler demand for destination-focused cruises, which Viking is prepared to meet. In 2016, the company will launch its second ocean ship, Viking Sea, and will introduce additional itineraries that offer guests more opportunities for in-depth exploration in some of the world’s best destinations.