We Join Viking Cruises First Oceangoing Ship for a Quick Journey to Norway

Viking Cruises’ Viking Star, seen here in Venice in April 2015. Photo courtesy of Viking Cruises.

Two weeks from today, I’ll be in Greenwich, London, England stepping aboard Viking (River) Cruises very first oceangoing ship: the elegant 930-guest Viking Star. My time aboard her will be short, with only four days standing between us and our final port of call of Bergen, Norway. It’s but a segment of a much larger voyage that begins on May 2 in Barcelona, but with one important distinction: Viking Star will be christened in Bergen – and we’ll be there to tell you all about it!

Historic Bryggen is a must-see on any visit to Bergen, Norway. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Historic Bergen, Norway will serve as the backdrop for Viking Star’s christening ceremonies in May. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

It was nearly two years ago that I gathered with some of my cruise journalist colleagues in Los Angeles to see the first unveiling of Viking’s plans for Viking Star, in a lavish ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Renderings were produced, and a small builder’s model was dramatically unveiled at the end of the room. I remember the rush as people dropped their caviar (no kidding) to go get an up-close glimpse of the ship. Grown men in suits and ties suddenly turned into kids: peering at the model from all angles. Bow, stern. Port, Starboard.
The consensus: Viking Star wasn’t just going to be any old ship. This was a ship designed for people who loved ships – and the magic of being at sea.

Viking Star will feature the industry's first Infinity Pool. Rendering courtesy of Viking Cruises

Viking Star will feature the industry’s first true Infinity Pool. Rendering courtesy of Viking Cruises

Indeed, the sea is designed to be everywhere on Viking Star, from her two-story observation lounge situated above her navigation bridge all the way forward, to her luxurious main dining room that is attractively situated next to the full wrap-around promenade on Deck 2. Four laps around this track equals one mile, and you might be able to say hello to your friends onboard as you pass: Viking Star’s main dining room features windows that can cascade open, letting in the warmth of the Mediterranean air.
Other unique features abound, like the real Scandinavian experience (including a snow room) in the ship’s Spa, which takes a less prominent place on Deck 1 forward. After all, who needs windows when you’re face-down and enjoying a Hot Stone massage?

The Wintergarden aboard Viking Star will feature a retractable roof and will be conveniently situated near the midships pool. Illustration courtesy of Viking Cruises

The Wintergarden aboard Viking Star will feature a retractable roof and will be conveniently situated near the midships pool. Illustration courtesy of Viking Cruises

Viking Star also sports a relaxing Wintergarden on Deck 7, which attractively cascades aft to the ship’s Midship pool – protected from the elements by a retractable Magrodome sliding roof. When the sun is out, though, it’s the pool furthest aft that’s going to attract the most attention: the true Infinity Pool that looks out over the stern, bordered on three sides by Viking’s famous Aquavit Terrace. The popular al fresco venue makes the jump from Viking’s popular Viking Longships, which first introduced the concept to the river cruise world in 2012.
Add to this a soaring three-story atrium, multiple bars and lounges, multiple dining venues, and more open deck space than you can shake a stick at, and you’ve got the recipe for one very cool cruise ship.

The atrium aboard Viking Star will span three decks and will focus as much on showcasing what's outside the ship as what's on the inside. Illustration courtesy of Viking Cruises.

The atrium aboard Viking Star will span three decks and will focus as much on showcasing what’s outside the ship as what’s on the inside. Illustration courtesy of Viking Cruises.

With most cruises, I typically spend hours pouring over photos of the ship – looking at past refits, analyzing public rooms, must-photograph spaces, things like that. I’ll typically troll CruiseCritic to see what people are saying about the ship, too: are things working? What’s the consensus?
This time, it’s different: I’m making a concerted effort to read nothing about this ship before I arrive. Other than

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