LOS ANGELES, May 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- As a result of strong customer demand, Viking Ocean Cruises (www.vikingoceancruises.com) today announced it will launch two additional ocean ships, bringing the total number of ships in its new fleet to three. Viking Sea and Viking Sky will both debut in 2016 and will be sister ships to the 930-passenger Viking Star, which is currently under construction and will set sail in early 2015. Like their sister ship, Viking Sea and Viking Sky will sail in Scandinavia and the Baltic; and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean – as well as two new itineraries for 2016 that explore the British Isles.
It was just one year ago that Viking announced its plans to expand into the ocean cruise segment, marking the travel industry's first new ocean cruise line in nearly a decade. With Viking Star's 2015 maiden season now more than 70 percent sold out – and sales of 2016 sailings well underway – the company is expanding both its ocean and river product lines aggressively to meet increased traveler demand for destination-focused cruises. This announcement comes directly on the heels of Viking's news last month that it will launch 12 new river vessels in 2015, bringing the company's total river fleet to 64 vessels.
"The introduction of Viking Star next year will represent a distinct change in ocean cruising—an alternative to the mega-liners dominating the world's ports," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. "It is our view that in the race to build enormous ships, some cruise lines have lost sight of the destinations to which they sail. Based on the incredible response we have received, it is clear that our guests want a new experience to truly explore their destinations."
Leveraging extensive feedback and input from Viking River Cruises passengers, Viking Ocean Cruises was developed with experienced travelers in mind. Itineraries are curated for maximum time in port, often with late evenings or overnights, so guests can experience local nightlife or evening performances. Ports include both cosmopolitan cities and "collector ports," and appeal to those with an interest in history, art and culture. In addition, Viking Inclusive Cruising 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. Guests 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.
Viking Star, Viking Sea and Viking Sky
Classified by Cruise Critic as "small ships," the 930-passenger all-veranda Viking Star, Viking Sea and Viking Sky are engineered at a scale that allows direct access into most ports, so guests have easy and efficient embarkation and debarkation. Light and intimate, 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: Each ship features 14 Explorer Suites, which are two-room suites ranging from 757 to 1,163 sq. ft. and offer sweeping views from wrap-around private verandas as well as the most amenities and privileges of any category onboard.
- Two Pool Choices: In addition to the Main Pool with a retractable dome permitting any-season swimming, each ship features a glass-backed infinity pool, cantilevered off the stern, allowing passengers to swim surrounded by their destination.
- The Spa: In keeping with Viking's Nordic heritage, The Spa onboard each ship 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 of each ship 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 a curated tea selection.
- Dining Choices: Each ship offers multiple restaurant locations and food choices—from The Restaurant and the World Café, serving a variety of global cuisines and regional specialties—to intimate dining experiences at The Chef's Table, Italian Grill and The Kitchen Table, all 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 passengers to their destinations through authentic experiences is central to Viking Cruises, and onboard venues include a dramatic three-deck atrium where passengers can enjoy musicians playing regional and classical music; the Theater, home of enrichment lectures from scholars and experts; an onboard cooking school where guests can learn local specialties; and the Viking 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 optimized streamlined hulls and bows for maximum fuel efficiency, onboard solar panels, and equipment that minimizes exhaust pollution and meets the strictest environmental regulations.
NEW 2016 Itineraries
In addition to voyages in Scandinavia and the Baltic; and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean, Viking will launch two new itineraries exploring the British Isles for 2016:
- Into the Midnight Sun (15 days; Bergen – London) – Cruise the deep-cut fjords of the fabled Norwegian coast. Sail into the northernmost reaches of the Arctic Circle, where the midnight sun illuminates spectacular vistas 24 hours a day. Trace the path of Vikings from Nordic splendor to Scottish wonder. This unparalleled journey follows in the wake of great explorers, from the ancient merchant streets of Bergen to tiny hamlets nestled in magnificent fjords; from the far-north beauty of Nordkapp to the remote outposts of Scotland's Shetland and Orkney Islands. It all culminates in glorious Edinburgh, where medieval splendor mingles with classic beauty. Special 2-for-1 pricing starts at $5,399 per person.
- Baltic Jewels & the Midnight Sun (29 days; Stockholm – London) – Viking's most sweeping Scandinavia itinerary combines Viking Homelands and Into the Midnight Sun. On this 29-day cruise, enjoy 21 ports in 10 countries, including Baltic gems, Norway's magnificent fjords and overnight stays in Stockholm, St. Petersburg and Bergen. Introductory 2-for-1 pricing starts at $8,999 per person.
From now through June 30, 2014, Viking is offering an Early Booking Discount with 2-for-1 pricing on cruise departures and savings of up to $2,000 per couple on international air. Contact a travel agent or call Viking toll free at 1-855-8-VIKING (1-855-884-5464).
For more information, images and b-roll for Viking Ocean Cruises, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Viking Cruises
Viking Cruises offers destination-centric river and ocean cruising designed for experienced travelers with an interest in geography, culture and history. Featuring onboard cultural enrichment and included shore excursions, Viking's journeys are competitively priced for genuine value. Debuting its maiden season of ocean cruising in 2015, the sophisticated state-of-the-art Viking Star will host 930 guests on itineraries in Scandinavia and the Baltic; the Western and Eastern Mediterranean; and the British Isles. Two additional ocean ships, Viking Sea and Viking Sky, will debut in 2016. As the world's leading river cruise line, since its 1997 inception the company has grown to a fleet of 53 river vessels (in 2014) offering scenic cruising along the rivers of Europe, Russia, Ukraine, China, and Southeast Asia. Viking has been honored multiple times in Travel + Leisure's "World's Best" Awards and Condé Nast Traveler's "Gold List" as well as recognized by the editors of Cruise Critic as "Best River Cruise Line," with the entire Viking Longships fleet being named "Best New River Ships of 2012" in the website's Editors' Picks Awards. The travel trade has ranked Viking as the "Best River Cruise Line" by Travel Weekly, Recommend and Travel Agent magazines, "Best Cruise Line for Luxury River Cruises" at the Luxury Travel Advisor Awards of Excellence and as "Best Overall Cruise Line for River Cruising" and "Best River Cruise Line for Travel Agent Support" in TravelAge West's WAVE Awards. For additional information, contact Viking Cruises at 1‑855‑8-VIKING (1‑855‑884‑5464) or visit www.vikingcruises.com. To join the Viking communities online, visit www.facebook.com/vikingcruises, www.facebook.com/vikingoceans and www.facebook.com/vikingrivercruises.
SOURCE Viking Cruises