UP CLOSE WITH HISTORY
Enjoyed by cruise travelers everywhere Viking Star has sailed: a balcony for everyone and not a one with an obstructed view. We could stop right there and move along to other features of the new ship from Viking Ocean Cruises but we’d be overlooking an interesting question that came in from reader Jim R of Kansas City. Jim asks “On the balcony cabins, I see there are different categories of them like on other cruise ships, what’s the difference?” Jim, at the end of the day the answer will be the Viking attention to detail, but we have to get there first. Let’s do that now.
Good question Jim and actually a bit easier to answer than with some other cruise lines. If you’ve explored cabin categories on other cruise lines, you know that new ships have an often confusing number of categories within cabin types. Viking makes that a bit simpler by not having inside or oceanview staterooms at all. Going further, as other cruise lines have made complicated work of cabin categorization (or re-categorization in the case of older ships), Viking started with a clean slate as a new cruise line and chose to make categories simple. There are five categories, four if you base categories on stateroom size.
They start at a generous 270 square feet, about the size of a mini-suite on many large ships, and go up to 750+ square feet. Also unlike most other cruise lines, size is not the only difference.
Every stateroom comes with plentiful USB ports, some regular and some high power speed chargers. They are conveniently located on each side of the bed on the desk and in a desktop lamp that has six of them. North American electrical outlets are plentiful too as are European style. Odds are you will not need a power strip to extend the limited electrical outlets found in cabins on other cruise lines. Also attractive, Wi-Fi works in your stateroom and is complimentary. Not all that fast but free.
Each stateroom also comes with an entertainment center that features a number of cable channels including MSNBC International which I sorely miss now back on land after sailing with Viking not long ago. Fox news and SkyNews are also included as well as a channel I think is really thoughtful with Filipino programming reflective of a great many crew members. TED Talks programming, Downton Abbey and a variety of movies are also included. A Bridge Cam plays a lovely selection of classical music as well. A channel I got in the habit of watching is the Viking Daily channel which replays the Program Director’s chat of the day and other interesting information. Interestingly, the destinations keep creeping in no matter what you do.
Also in your stateroom, a human-sized shower complemented with large bottles of FREYA shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion that are generously replenished as needed. Other bullet point items in all staterooms include
- A heavenly bed you will want to take home and Viking linens to adorn it
- Purefied water replenished daily
- A coffee maker with k-cup like varieties of coffee
- Robe, Slippers, safe, hair dryer
- Direct dial satellite phone and cellular service
About here is where the category chosen starts to make a difference in what comes with it, but the destinations also keep creeping in.
Every stateroom has a mini-bar and is initially set up with soft drinks and snacks. Go up a level to a Deluxe Verandah and those drinks and snacks are replenished once each day. Go further up to a (personal favorite) Penthouse Verandah and that mini-bar setup also includes alcoholic beverages which are also replenished once a day. The Penthouse Verandah and above also include a welcome bottle of champagne. I mention the mini bar setup because of something I learned on my last sailing that highlights the attention to detail that runs throughout the hotel operation. It takes a little story to explain.
So I’m sitting at the pool bar in the late afternoon, mainly because the internet signal is wonderful there and the place is nearly deserted at that time of the day. Tea Time in the closeby Wintergarden is over and Viking travelers are either engaged in pre-dinner activities like Munch Moments down in the Living room or are starting to gather in the Explorer’s Lounge more forward. I happen to overhear one of my bartender friends comment to another that he’ll be back soon. He is about to go out and catch minibar refills that were not done at the regular time by the regular guy who does that for one reason or another; usually because the Do Not Disturb sign was out.
The thought never occurred to me that doubling back to fill up mini-bars would be a thing someone did. I always was sure NOT to have my Do Not Disturb sign out when they came by, not for the liquor refill as I never used any of it, but I did not want to miss the candy bar replenishment which is an obscure little detail in and of itself that one would not think a big deal at all, until you don’t have it. You see, part of that mini bar setup is a small Twix candy bar and a small Milky Way bar. Nothing unusual about them but they are there and at the end of the day or sometime when you just feel like a little something naughty, there they are. It’s a wonderful, thoughtful little detail that probably does not cost Viking much to do but absolutely defines the thoughtful detail we see in so many areas of the ship. Areas that blend with the destinations we visit. There is literally no escaping the marvelous places these ships will take us.
Also included on every deck, a very nice self-service laundry with included soap and fabric softener in easy to use machines. This is really appropriate here because so many Viking voyages are more than 7 days long, the standard in the Caribbean. Our New York to the West Indies itinerary is 15 days, two full weeks at sea and we do all carry-on luggage. There will be no packing of two weeks worth of clothing. Instead, we will take advantage of another thoughtful service offered on Viking Star, laundry and dry cleaning with same-day service if you choose. The prices are about what one would pay on land and the service is wonderful. Know this: You have not lived until your jeans have come back from the laundry ironed and on hangers. I’ve decided that the ancient Vikings must have insisted on that. Probably not but it works for me.
Also increasing as you go up in stateroom category, availability to book shore excursions, spa treatments, specialty restaurants and even access your stateroom on embarkation day. The higher you go (and more you pay) the shorter the wait. I like the theory behind that but have to say, frankly there is not all that much difference here as redundancy built into all onboard programming systems somehow insures that if someone wants to eat at a certain place at a certain time, odds are that will happen. Arrive anywhere close to your embarkation time and your stateroom will probably be ready. One element that is still present on a number of other cruise lines but just not a part of the Viking experience: complaining. It just does not fit here nor do I see reason to do so.
Viking is very quick to NOT present their product as one of luxury and volumes have been written already trying to make sense of that. “If this is not luxury, I don’t know what luxury is” says one expert. “Viking redefines luxury” says another. Want more on that? Here you go:
There is attention to detail.
There is Viking Attention To Detail.
The two are vastly different.
That difference might very well be due to the fact that the Viking traveler is a more traveled one. I don’t see complaining in large part due to the crew of Viking Star who takes their job very seriously in a fun and engaging way. Here are some of those reasons why complaints are virtually non-existent on this ship:
The Countdown Continues
- Coming Up: Viking West Indies Explorer, Epic Invasion
- Viking Cruises Caribbean: Island Connected Dining Like Never Before
- Viking Cruises Caribbean: Panoramic Island Hopping\
- Viking Cruises West Indies Explorer Countdown
- Viking Caribbean Shoreside Focus Different, Included
- Thinkable World Of Viking To Meet The Caribbean
- In The Viking Caribbean, No Smuggling Skills Needed, Door Wide Open
- Uniquely Different Viking Ocean Cruises: Specific Features That Caribbean Travel Will Like
- Follow Viking Star In Real Time Satellite View
- Flexibility Enables Surprise Viking Exploration, Again
- Coming To North America: Our Viking Adventure Begins
- Viking Introduces Previously Ignored Caribbean
- Viking Welcome Home: It Can Happen Anywhere
- Exploring Iceland Like Vikings: Thoughtfully
- Vikings Explore Prince Christian Sound, Very Carefully
- Spectacular Travel Moments With Viking Ocean Cruises
- Interesting Viking Tour Brings Global View In Very Simple Terms
- Viking Star Passes Ultimate Cruise Traveler Test
- Viking Caribbean: Something New For Someone New
- Aggressive Repositioning Itinerary Highlights Viking Commitment To Travelers
- Thoughtful Canadian Port Choice Typical Of Viking Destination Focus
- Features Not Part Of The Viking Caribbean Experience
- Viking Star Caribbean Dining: New Cuisine For Cruise Travelers
- Actually, Viking Star Is Designed For Caribbean Cruising
- Incomparable Viking Star
- Viking Star Base Features To Elevate Caribbean Cruise Experience
- In The Wake Of Vikings [PHOTOS]
- Viking Caribbean Preview: Your Questions Answered
- Viking Caribbean Preview: More Of Your Questions Answered
- Reader Question Highlights Viking Attention To Detail (This post)
Flickr photo albums
- A Day In Reykjavik, Iceland
- Icelandic Air
- In The Steps Of Vikings: Cruising Prince Christian Sound
- Nanortalik, Greenland
- Qaqortoq, Greenland
- Viking Star Penthouse Verandah Staterooms
- Viking Star Ship Shots
- Viking Star At Sea
- Northern Lights
- Viking Star Culinary: Mamsens
- Viking Star Nordic Spa
- Viking Star Living Room Bar
- Viking Star Culinary Sampling
- Viking Star Explorer’s Lounge
- Viking Star Pool Grill
- Viking Star Past Guest Party
- Viking Star Living Room
- Saguenay, Quebec, Canada
- Viking Star Infinity Pool
- Sailing To Canada On Viking Star
- Viking Star Top Deck Spaces
- Viking Star Aquavit Bar
- Viking Star Crew
- Viking Star Main Pool Area
- Greenland From The Deck Of Viking Star
- Viking Documentation
- Al Fresco Seating Areas
Facebook Photo Albums
- Exploring Reykjavik: A Day In Iceland
- Scenic Cruising Like Vikings
- Nanortalik, Greenland With Viking Ocean Cruises
- Qaqortoq, Greenland With Viking Ocean Cruises.