Viking Ocean – a New Cruise Experience
Viking's announcement that they are moving into ocean cruising has become official as the company unveiled details of a new line to be called Viking Ocean Cruises.
Viking has ordered 2 928-passenger ships for the new ocean cruising line, and has conditional orders and options for up to 4 more, with Viking Chairman, Torstein Hagen, saying the first of the 47,800-ton vessels will be sailing in May 2015 and will be called Viking Star. This vessel will sail maiden voyages in Scandinavia and the Baltic and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean.
Hagen said that the new company would be upscale and focus on destinations in a way that has been lost across much of the cruise industry in recent years, "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."
"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."
Viking is a market leader in river cruising, with the company's fast growing Viking River Cruises line operating more than 30 vessels, including 10 new ships unveiled in March. However, until now it has not operated ocean cruises.
Viking Ocean Cruises will be the first major new ocean line to debut in nearly a decade, but it is entering a market place dominated by a small number of large operators.
Hagen also announced that Viking Ocean Cruises will offer a level of all-inclusive pricing that is relatively rare in the ocean cruising world. In addition to all on board meals, fares will include shore excursions in every port of call, beer and wine and with lunch and dinner, and Wi-Fi access.
The new Viking ocean ships will be kept relatively small so they can have direct access into most ports around the world, and so that it is easy for passengers to get on and off the vessels. Cabins will be large for a cruise ship, with the smallest of 5 cabin categories having 270 square feet of space, and ever cabin with a balcony. Hagen also announced that there will be 14 2-room suites on the ship that will offer extensive views from wrap-around balconies.
Viking Star will also feature an infinity pool, a second pool under a retractable dome, a 2 deck lounge at the bow of the ship, 5 restaurants, several bars, a theatre, cooking school and a day spa with saunas and a "snow grotto" where snowflakes descend from the ceiling through chilled air.
This ship has been designed with the environment in mind, and will feature energy-efficient hybrid engines, a streamlined hull and bow for maximum fuel efficiency, onboard solar panels, and equipment that minimises exhaust pollution.
Australian travellers will be able to book cruises later this year, so watch this space for more information.
Source: eTravelBlackboard & Cruise Weekly