CORRECTED: Viking Ocean Cruises is not the first new cruise line to launch in a decade as was originally reported.
Viking Ocean Cruises‘ new Viking Star has set sail on her maiden voyage from Istanbul (pictured above) to Venice. The vessel is currently sailing through the Mediterranean on its way to be christened in Bergen, Norway on Norwegian Constitution Day – May 17, 2015.
“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 onboard enrichment, we have made the destination the true focus of our new ocean cruises.”
The 47,800-ton, 930-guest Viking Star is a small ship dedicated to destinations, accessing most ports and spending more time in said ports. Plus, each stop will feature an included excursion with optional tours available as well. Hagen has said Viking Ocean Cruises will be renowned for its enrichment, and while onboard, guests will be able to attend expert lectures from locals. Food on Viking Star will similarly be regionally inspired.
Special destination experiences that are available to Viking Star guests are described by the line below:
Private Visit to Hagia Sophia by Night, Istanbul, Turkey – On this special excursion, guests visit the magnificent Hagia Sophia for a private tour free of crowds. After departing the ship with a guide, guests enjoy a drive over the Galata Bridge into the heart of Old Istanbul to walk the hallowed halls of Hagia Sophia and view its priceless treasures. After the visit, guests enjoy refreshments in the courtyard of the nearby Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hamami, a charming Turkish bathhouse.
Cooking with a Countess, Venice, Italy – Countessa Lelia Passi welcomes Viking guests to her home, which has been in her family for hundreds of years. In the magnificent surroundings of this lavish palace, the countess and her teaching staff share with guests the secrets of Italian cooking.
Sail & Swim the French Riviera, Toulon, France – Guests have the opportunity to try their hand at sailing a luxury sailboat on the Bay of Toulon. Weather permitting, the yacht will anchor in one of many small coves, where guests can relax with a drink or snack, or perhaps a swim in the warm waters of the Mediterranean.
A Normandy Countryside Cheese & Brandy Tasting – In the village of Pont L’Évêque, savor a special Norman lunch amidst the Calvados barrels of Les Tonneaux du Père Magloire restaurant. After your meal, you will visit the cellars to learn how apples are transformed into the “eau de vie,” the water of life—Normandy’s favorite brandy.
Kayak a Fjord – Guests have an opportunity to paddle among the tranquility Norway’s mighty fjords, on an active and exciting excursion.
At Home in Haugesund, Haugesund, Norway – Visit a traditional home for tea. Your hosts, a local garden designer and architect, welcome you into their wooden house that dates to 1884. You visit and enjoy tea steeped from herbs in their garden.
The Viking Star is just the beginning as her sister ships – the Viking Sky and Viking Sea – are set to join the fleet as they together explore Scandinavia and the Baltic, as well as the Western and Eastern Mediterranean.
Additional booking details according to the cruise line are as follows:
From now through April 30, 2015, Viking is offering U.S. residents 2015 Special Savings and 2016 Early Booking Discounts with 2-for-1 pricing on cruise departures and savings of up to $750 per person on international air. Viking 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. Contact a travel agent or call Viking toll free at 1-855-8-VIKING (1-855-884-5464).
HEADER IMAGE SOURCE: VIKING OCEAN CRUISES