UP CLOSE WITH HISTORY
Viking Ocean Cruises has been making a lot of friends in the world of cruise travel, offering a unique product not comparable to any other now available. Successfully reinventing the cruise industry with two ships in the water and a bunch more on the way, the Viking Ocean Cruises empire is expanding. Soon to be in the Caribbean for the first time ever, Viking will bring something new to a part of the world most North American cruise travelers have extensive experience with. We will be sailing with Viking when that first Caribbean sailing happens in October. Between then and now, we’re going to take another look at unique features of Viking Star and how they are apt to contribute to Viking Cruises Caribbean experience. First up, Viking Star’s World Cafe, the closest dining venue to a larger ship’s buffet on board that promises island connected dining, not previously available on any other cruise line.
The only open kitchen buffet at sea, Viking Star’s World Cafe can also be an al fresco dining experience, weather permitting. Floor-to-ceiling windows open in good weather, connecting diners to the places visited by the ship around the world. In the Caribbean that means island connected dining in Guadaloupe, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, St Lucia and on our 11-day, 9-country Caribbean sailing with an included tour in each port of call. Better yet, rather than just big windows that let in fresh air and provide unobstructed views of what’s outside, diners can enjoy outside seating as well.
The World Cafe serves breakfast from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and dinner from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Uniquely different with Viking’s island connected dining, those hours also represent times when beer and wine is included with meals.
Some highlights include a breakfast made-to-order omelet station that also offers made-to-order Eggs Benedict and a plentiful supply of fresh breakfast bakery items. Odds are, breakfast will not be our first visit of the day to the World Cafe. Also available 24 hours is espresso and other machine-generated coffee drinks, an assortment of juices and more. At lunch, pizza and pasta are made before your eyes, a salad bar compliments hot items made in that open air kitchen and a sandwich of the day. Dinner brings an assortment of regional dishes along with everyday favorites that make deciding difficult and a sushi bar. Not to be missed: Made-on-board gelato and the entire dessert selection, many items of which reflect the place visited that day.
Significant here: everything we see on the double sided buffet is made here, not at a remote kitchen deep in the bowels of the ship then transported to the serving area. Also important: There will not be a hoard of other passengers clogging the flow of diners in this area, for a number of reasons. There are less than 1000 total on board the ship at full capacity. Multiple dining options are included in the price, spreading out that smaller group of passengers. Steps away is the Pool Grill, another popular place at lunch for those returning from the included tour of the day or an optional tour focused on more specific interests. Seating too is easy to find for reasons along the same lines. The popular Aquavit Terrace area is just outside the World Cafe dedicated seating areas as is the pool and Pool Bar, one of our favorite placed to go after visiting the World Cafe. Not to forget: The World Cafe is located on deck seven out of nine decks; not very far from anywhere on the ship.
We like that the World Cafe can be as short or as long of a dining experience as we wish. Actually, if this were the only dining venue on board, foodies would be in heaven and find plenty to like. Unfortunately, the World Cafe is not the only dining venue on board and the other choices are equally wonderful. We’ll hit each of those along the way to our West Indies Explorer sailing.
Another source for information on Viking Ocean Cruises: Exploring More
Karine Hagen is your host for a collection of award-winning short films sharing some of her favourite insights into world cultures.
Karine spends much of her life traveling the world for Viking Cruises developing new itineraries and experiences, while gaining insights into local lives and working worlds, as well as enjoying privileged access to places few have the opportunity to visit.
A native of Norway, Karine has lived in the UK, US, Russia and Asia, and speaks seven languages. She is a great believer in the power of travel to change the world.
Geared toward sailings in Europe, Russia and Asia, the Exploring More standalone website has a World Map that will probably have films about the Caribbean as well. Right now, we can gain some insight for what Viking Ocean Cruises has in store for visitors in the Caribbean via this introduction to our itinerary