LOS ANGELES, Oct. 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Viking Ocean Cruises® (www.vikingoceancruises.com) today welcomed its first ship, Viking Star®, into the New York harbor as part of its inaugural North American voyage. The 930-guest ship docked at Manhattan Cruise Terminal at noon, just after sailing past the Statue of Liberty with a reception by New York Fireboats. On October 11, Viking officially commemorated its first United States port of call in Boston, with a traditional maritime plaque ceremony attended by local officials and dignitaries. This is the first time Viking has sailed into North American ports, which are part of the company's new itineraries exploring the Americas and the Caribbean.
"To sail past Ellis Island and into New York for the first time is a proud moment for our entire Viking family. With the same spirit as the Vikings who originally sailed their longships across the Atlantic, arriving in North America signifies a new era of possibilities for our company and our guests," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. "As our fleet continues to grow, we will look for new ways to bring our unique destination-focused approach to more regions of the world. There are no kids onboard, and there are no umbrella drinks. Instead, our Caribbean itineraries are inspired by iconic 18th century navigation routes and were developed to highlight the rich history and culture of the region."
The world's leading river cruise line, Viking was recently awarded top honors as the #1 Ocean Cruise line in Travel + Leisure's 2016 World's Best Awards. After departing from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal on October 14, Viking Star will sail for San Juan, Puerto Rico, which will serve as her homeport for the winter season. From San Juan, the ship will sail the 11-day West Indies Explorer itinerary, which also calls on ports in the British Virgin Islands, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts, St. Martin and the U.S. Virgin Islands. With no sea days on the itinerary, guests are able to avoid the time at sea typically associated with Caribbean cruises originating in Florida. While sailing West Indies Explorer, guests will have an opportunity to learn onboard about the destinations from local experts, historians and lecturers, as well as through a variety of shore excursions, including optional visits to museums, gardens and historic sites. Viking Star will return to Europe in February 2017, with a transatlantic sailing from San Juan to Barcelona.
Classified by Cruise Critic as a "small ship," Viking Star features understated elegance and modern Scandinavian design. In its debut season Viking Star was awarded with the cruise industry's highest honors, including being named Best New Ocean Ship and scoring a 5-star rating by the editors of Cruise Critic, as well as receiving the highest rating in the mid-size ship category in Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2016. In addition to the recently christened Viking Sea®, Viking will launch four additional ocean sister ships in the coming years, including Viking Sky® and Viking Sun® in 2017, Viking Spirit® in 2018 and the remaining, yet-to-be-named ship in 2020.
Designed by experienced nautical architects and engineers, including the same interior design team responsible for the award-winning fleet of Viking Longships®, Viking's ocean ships feature:
- All Veranda Staterooms: Guests can choose from five stateroom categories, starting from a 270 sq. ft. Veranda Stateroom, all with private verandas and premium amenities that include king-size beds with luxury linens, large showers, luxury toiletries, heated bathroom floors and large interactive flat-screen LCD TVs with movies-on-demand.
- Explorer Suites: The ship will 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 onboard.
- Two Pool Choices: In addition to the Main Pool with a retractable roof permitting any-season swimming, the ship features a first-of-its-kind glass-backed Infinity Pool cantilevered off the stern, allowing guests to swim surrounded by their destination.
- LivNordic Spa: In keeping with Viking's Nordic heritage, The Spa onboard 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. Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2016 named it one of the "5 best cruise ship spas."
- Explorers' Lounge and Mamsen's: Share a cocktail with friends. Linger over a Norwegian breakfast and a nautical history book. The Explorers' Lounge and Mamsen's gourmet deli are thoughtful spaces located at the bow and designed in the Scandinavian spirit, for complete relaxation and for marveling at sweeping views through double-height windows.
- The Wintergarden: Guests looking for serenity will find it in the Wintergarden. In this elegant space, guests can indulge in afternoon tea service under a canopy of Scandinavian trellised wood – an homage to Norse mythology and Yggdrasil, the Tree of Life.
- Dining Choices: Viking's ocean ships offer multiple restaurant locations and food choices—from fine dining in The Restaurant, which serves three full meals and the widest choice of culinary options, and the World Café, which serves international fare and regional specialties—to intimate dining experiences at The Chef's Table, which offers a multi-course tasting menu complete with wine parings, and Manfredi's, which features freshly prepared pastas and Italian favorites. Additionally, The Kitchen Table experience focuses on regional dishes from market to table; the Pool Grill specializes in gourmet burgers; afternoon tea and scones are available in the Wintergarden; and Mamsen's serves Norwegian deli-style fare. Furthermore, with multiple choices for outdoor seating during meals, Viking's ships offer the most al fresco dining at sea.
- Enriching Entertainment: Connecting guests to their destinations through authentic experiences is central to Viking in creating "the thinking person's cruise." Instead of casinos and water slides, guests are offered Viking's Culture Curriculum® including: world-class lectures on history and art; tasting of vintage wines from their destinations; restaurant menus inspired by local cuisine; informative port talks; enriching Destination Performances featuring folkloric shows and musicians playing regional and classical music; an onboard cooking school allowing guests to learn how to prepare local specialties.
- Sustainable Features: Designed with the environment in mind, Viking's ocean ships feature energy-efficient hybrid engines, hydro-dynamically optimized streamlined hull and bow for maximum fuel efficiency and equipment that minimizes exhaust pollution and meets the strictest environmental regulations.
The Viking Difference
Designed for discerning travelers, Viking offers guests "the thinking person's cruise" as an alternative to mainstream cruises. The Viking difference is providing guests with extraordinarily well-designed cruises that facilitate engagement with the cultures of the world. Ships are small allowing privileged access to smaller ports and getting guests closer to their destination, with more time in port, more overnights and fewer days at sea. Onboard, guests find serene Scandinavian spaces, where every room is beautiful and functional, quiet and filled with light. All-veranda ships mean that guests experience every day with a new, expansive vista. With the most al fresco dining at sea, featuring regional cuisines and always-available American classics, Viking's guests can truly dine in their destination. A focus on cultural enrichment brings immersive experiences onshore and onboard. And only The Viking Way brings guests itineraries that feature Local Life, Working World and Privileged Access experiences.
In addition, Viking Inclusive Cruising provides a small ship experience at a big ship 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; premium dining reservations; Wi-Fi; self-service laundry; access to the Thermal Suite in the LivNordic Spa; and 24-hour room service—an included value of more than $200 per person, per day.
From now through October 31, 2016, Viking is offering U.S. residents a special savings of up to $2,000 per couple: up to $1,000 off cruise fare and up to $1,000 off air. Contact a travel agent or call Viking toll free at 1-855-8-VIKING (1-855-884-5464).
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About Viking Cruises
Viking Cruises, the leader in river and small ship ocean cruising, offers destination-focused itineraries designed for experienced travelers who have an interest in geography, culture and history. In its first year of operation, Viking Ocean Cruises was rated the #1 ocean cruise line in Travel + Leisure's 2016 "World's Best" Awards, which came on the heels of being rated the highest of all cruise lines in the 2015 "World's Best" Awards. Viking currently operates a fleet of 61 vessels, offering scenic cruising along the rivers and oceans of the Americas, Europe, Russia, Egypt, China, and Southeast Asia. By 2020 the company will operate six 930-passenger ocean cruise ships; currently the two ships in the fleet sail itineraries in Scandinavia and the Baltic; the Western and Eastern Mediterranean; and the Caribbean and North America. In addition to the Travel + Leisure honors, Viking has also been honored multiple times on Condé Nast Traveler's "Gold List" as well as recognized by the editors of Cruise Critic as "Best River Cruise Line" and "Best River Itineraries," with the entire Viking Longships® fleet being named "Best New River Ships" in the website's Editors' Picks Awards. For additional information, contact Viking Cruises at 1-855-8-VIKING (1-855-884-5464) or visit www.vikingcruises.com.
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SOURCE Viking Cruises