When Viking Ocean Cruises brought Viking Sea to London, the christening occasion was notable for a number of firsts. The 930-passenger ship was the largest ever launched in London. Instead of the traditional champagne bottle broken across the bow during christening, a bottle of Viking Aquavit was used. Instead of scissors, a Viking battle axe cut the cord for that aquavit christening. Today’s Viking Sea profile continues to highlight unique features, these shared fleet wide.
In Viking Sea: Beyond The Headlines I moved past the bullet point list of features unique to Viking Ocean Cruises and Viking Sea, tagging the passionate Viking organization itself as a solid reason to sail. Taking you inside cruise vacations as we do here, that one might have gone a bit too deep. ‘Passion’, it seems, is a quality that is difficult to document.
Easy to prove: ship features and onboard programming elements that can enable a wonderful travel experience. For the right person. By the same sword, those ship features and programming elements are not of interest to all. Still, some cruise line probably does have what a first time cruise traveler would find appealing. Today we take a look what Viking Ocean Cruises is offering; the unique features Viking advertises and that we have experienced them delivering.
First, a photo gallery of images from the Viking Sea Christening, captured by the talented photographers of the Viking family.
Viking Sea Profile
Viking’s 47,800-ton ocean ships have 465 cabins and accommodate 930 passengers. Do the math; that’s all double cabins with no way to book triples or quads. Viking Sea is the second ship with third and fourth ships, Viking Sky and Viking Sun scheduled to debut in early 2017 and late 2017, respectively. Viking Spirit will be delivered in 2018 and a sixth yet-to-be-named ship comes in 2020.
Highlights of the Viking Ocean Cruises fleet include:
- 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. There are no oceanview or inside staterooms on these ships.
- Explorer Suites: The ships 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 ships feature 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.” Chris rates it as the only spa at sea I have ever been interested in.
- 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. I think this is one of the most unique spaces on the ship.
- The Wintergarden: Guests looking for serenity will find it in the Wintergarden. In this elegant space under a canopy of Scandinavian trellised wood, guests can indulge in afternoon tea service.
- Dining Choices: Viking’s 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 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 Star offers 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 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.
All of the above adds up to the potential for a fabulous cruise travel experience when matched with the right traveler. How Viking goes about their business, as profiled in Viking Sea: Beyond The Headlines, solidly increases the odds of that happening. I keep talking about that because of the big ‘what if?” question that remains: What if other cruise lines operated like Viking does?