Stern's Guide to the Greatest Resorts of the World, Stern's Guide to the Cruise Vacation, Stern's Guide to European Riverboats and Hotel Barges, and The Indispensable Guide to Foreign Words and Phrases--by Steven B. Stern (Sponsored by Stern's Travel Guides, Ltd.)
Viking Star:will enter service May 2015; 47,800 G.R.T.; 745.4' x 94.5'; 930-passenger capacity;449 cabins; International officers and crew; cruises in Northern and Western Europe, Mediterranean, Greek Islands and Turkey. (not rated)
The 930-passenger Viking Star is the first entry into theocean cruise market for the new Viking Ocean Cruise Line, a sister company to Viking River Cruises. A second ship is scheduled to enter service in 2016. Viking River Cruises is the largest and most well know of the European Riverboat companies, largely due to its enormous fleet expansion over the past few years and its plethora ofadvertising.
This all veranda ship--- with no accommodation less than 271 square feet, mini- bars stocked with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages daily in 75% of the cabins and suites, complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner, complimentary specialty coffees and room service around the clock, complimentary Wi-Fi and self-service laundry facilitiesthroughout the ship, multiple dining venues all free of charge, movie theaters with first run films, enrichment programs and complimentary shore excursions-- would seem to be looking to compete against the premium deluxe cruise lines.
Including the verandas, the Veranda and Deluxe Verandastaterooms measure 270 square feet, the Penthouse Veranda Suites 338 square feet, the thirty-two Penthouse Junior Suites 404 square feet, the fourteen Explorer Suites 1,165 square feet, and the Owner's Suite 1,448 square feet. Two cabins are wheelchair accessible, as are the public spaces and open decks.
Every accommodation has a king-size bed with luxury linens, a sitting area, a desk/make-up table, complimentary 24-hour room service, Wi-Fi and movies-on-demand,robes and slippers, priority embarkation, luxury toiletries, large flat-screed LCD TV, direct dial satellite phone and cell service, a security safe, hair dryer, and110/220 volt outlets. All but the lowest category have coffee makers, mini-bars with soft drinks, water and snacks replenished daily; and the suites also have alcoholic beverages in their mini-bars, a welcome bottle of Champagne,and complimentary shoe shine and pressing. Complimentary dry cleaning and laundryservice is available to the Junior, Explorer and Owner'sSuites.
Located on Deck 1 are the main level of the atrium with the Guest Services desk and the Lobby Bar, the Spa, the Fitness Center,the Salon, shops, and three specialty restaurants: The Italian Grill ( for antipasti, pastas and steaks) , The Chef's Table (for tasting menus with wine pairings) and The Kitchen Table ( a cooking school and intimate restaurant), as well as two private dining rooms. Beneath Deck 1 is the MedicalCenter.
The Restaurant (serving all three meals daily), the Star Theater (for production and cabaret shows), two cinema theaters, two shops, the Viking Piano Bar and 360 degree outdoor Promenade are all situated on Deck 2. Most ofthe staterooms and Suites can be found on Decks 3, 4, 5 and 6 with a self-service laundry facility on each deck. Some additional suites are located on Decks 7 and 8.
At one end of Deck 8 is the lower level of the Explorer'sLoungewhich connects by a staircase to the upper level on Deck 9. On the opposite endof Deck 8 is the Aquavit Terrace, an outdoor extension of the casual buffet restaurant,as well as an infinity pool and hot tub.The main swimming pool with a retractable roof, pool grill, pool bar, lanais and the Wintergarden lounge are located mid-deck.
We look forward to theopportunity to review this ship once it is in service. From the advance promotions and renderings, the Viking Star looks like she will be a strong contender in the market place.