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Posted on Friday, May 17, 2013 by

Knego heads to Beverly Hills to attend the gala Viking Cruises reveal feting the exciting new upper premium market cruise ship VIKING STAR.

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Friday, May 17, 2013

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The Beverly Hilton.

Established in 1997, Viking Cruises (nee Viking River Cruises) has taken over the cruising scene like no other river line. The Los Angeles-based company has a fleet of 35 vessels and is growing at a breakneck pace, with a projected 100 ships within the next few years. Emphasizing geography, culture, history, good food, deluxe comfort and value for the money, Viking calls at 90 ports in Europe, Russia, Ukraine, China, Southeast Asia and Egypt and will even be establishing itineraries on the Mississippi in the near future. Last night, in a gala event at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, the line unveiled its new ocean cruise product in a major reveal hosted by CEO, Torstein Hagen.

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Torstein Hagen.

Hagen helmed the event in the 16,000-square-foot International Ballroom, the setting for a myriad of gala Hollywood affairs. The 70-year-old Norwegian-born CEO has quite an impressive cruise industry resumé, having once been the CEO of lamented Royal Viking Line and serving on the boards of both Holland America and Kloster.

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Talking points: Viking guests’ impressions of ocean cruising.

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Talking point:  Viking guests seeking a Viking Ocean experience.

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Talking point: Viking guest traits.

After some revelations about what has made Viking such a success (all of its 4,300 berths are fully booked through November), Hagen transitioned to the ocean product. For those like myself who have grown weary of the trend in building bigger, denser, more gimmick-infused ships, what followed was an affirming return to what cruising was once all about.


VIKING STAR aerial bow view.

First of all, the first in a pair of ocean going vessels, the VIKING STAR will actually look like a ship. For a newbuild, her profile is quite pleasing with a long, pointed bow (which will be longer in reality than shown in the rendering) that conjures up the original Royal Viking trio. The terraced, rounded forward superstructure is reminiscent of the original “R” ships and the overall proportions and sculpted funnel recall the ROYAL VIKING SUN and CRYSTAL HARMONY.

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VIKING STAR aerial stern view. Courtesy of Viking Cruises.


VIKING STAR Infinity Pool. Courtesy of Viking Cruises.

The 48,000 gt, 754 by 94.5 foot, 928-passeger, Maltese-registered VIKING STAR will boast many features that are now considered classic, such as a genuine library, an open air pool on the afterdecks (not just any pool but one with an infinity basin that extends all the way to the edge of the stern), a full wrap-around promenade and the dual-level Explorers Lounge that overlooks the bow. There will be no rock climbing walls, wave riders, waterparks or casinos. As Hagen stated, “No ship can be everything to everyone and we know our market.” That target market is age 55+, well-traveled and keen on cultural and historic immersion.


VIKING STAR Restaurant. Courtesy of Viking Cruises.


VIKING STAR Atrium Lobby. Courtesy of Viking Cruises.

The spectacular interior renderings were infused with a Scandinavian Modern sensibility. The main dining room will “have the best food” (versus many ships today where the specialty restaurants are superior) and will surround a Gio Ponti-esque grand staircase (think CONTE GRANDE) that descends to the main lobby. The main dining room will also have floor-to-ceiling windows that can slide open to provide al fresco dining.

Another plus will be that the specialty restaurants will not command any fees. Hagen is adamant about “no nickel and dime’ing” in his fleet. Access to the specialty dining experiences (Italian Grill and Chef’s Table) will be prioritized for those booked in top stateroom categories. There will also be the World Cafe and adjoining al fresco Aquavit Terrace (the ship’s Lido Restaurants) as well as a Viking Deli in the Explorer’s Lounge.


VIKING STAR Midships Pool. Courtesy of Viking Cruises.

The midships pool will be under a retractable Magrodome; a gorgeous spa will boast a sauna and a snow room and there will be an airy wintergarden, a piano bar, a showroom and two small cinemas.


VIKING STAR Stateroom. Courtesy of Viking Cruises.

Staterooms will all have verandas (no insides or exteriors with windows) and will start at a spacious 270-square-feet. Other categories include Penthouse Verandas (338-square feet), Penthouse Junior Suites (405-square-feet), Explorer Suites (757 — 1,163-square-feet) and a 1,448-square-foot Owner’s Suite.


VIKING STAR Stateroom bathroom. Courtesy of Viking Cruises.

All staterooms will have king-sized beds and the bathrooms will feature spacious 12-square-foot showers.

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Viking swirl.

In addition to the outstanding hardware, Viking will provide excellent value for the money (starting at $421 per person per day, including airfare) with the following included : shore excursions in each port of call (enhanced excursions are also available at an additional cost); concierge service; free unlimited wifi; complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner service; complimentary specialty coffees; complimentary self-service laundry; complimentary room service; all port taxes and transfers to and from the ship.

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Viking Homelands itinerary.

The VIKING STAR will commence her career in 2015 with three summer European itineraries: a fifteen night Viking Homelands from Bergen to Stockholm via the Baltic and St. Petersburg; a thirteen night Mediterranean Odyssey from Barcelona to Venice; and a ten night Empires of the Mediterranean from Venice to Istanbul. All cruises will begin and end with overnights in port, none will have more than one sea day and Viking’s port stays will be much longer than the industry average. Hagen stated that after her maiden season, the ship may remain in Europe year-round or venture to other, not-yet-determined places.

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Mediterranean offerings.

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Sweets up close.

At the end of the presentation, curtains rose on either side of the room, revealing food stations representing regions VIKING STAR will be visiting, including the Baltic, The Aegean and the Mediterranean. If the food on the ship is anything like what we experienced, Viking will conquer the Upper Premium ocean cruise market like it did river cruising.

VIKING STAR will begin construction this June at Fincantieri’s Marghera (near Venice) shipyard.

Bookings for the new ship begin today, May 17. For more information, please contact your travel agent or Viking Cruises

Special thanks: Martin Cox, Erik DeLaCruz, Ian Jeffries, Doug Parker

20 Responses to VIKING STAR To Shine!

  1. Kenenth Eden

    May 17, 2013 at 5:50 am

    Viking promised this press release for this date, and they delivered. That is impressive.

    What else that is really impressive is the ship, VIKING STAR itself. These once major cruise lines that I absolutely loved were Royal Viking Line and Norwegian America Line/Cunard /NAC. While little, nothing really, bears a resemblance NAL ships,the mood and ambiance will suffice here, they surely ring the bells and push the buttons for updated RVL ships. I am ready to pack my bags and go. The wait will be torturous.

    The “traits” hold true as does the very interior to my taste and lifestyle. The photo renderings are of superb quality. AND the price! A steal.

    I note dining room chairs with arms. Marble in the baths, and that infinity pool – all that with the heritage of the Vikings to provide the
    very best in it’s [Viking Oceans] chosen second, of that I have no doubt.

    I trust that Peter, Martin and Shawn will keep us updated on what will be a very major contender for luxury cruises.

  2. Philip Hurst

    May 17, 2013 at 7:06 am

    Most interesting and very attractive. I’ll send a c.v. immediately! VIKING STAR actually looks to me very much like a slightly smaller version of Oceania MARINA and RIVIERA, with a more elegant bow. Hints too of ROYAL VIKING SUN, as one might expect. In all, it seems a great package.

  3. Glenn L.

    May 17, 2013 at 8:54 am

    It’s interesting to see that Viking wishes to enter the market when others are pulling out:
    I see that 84% of the past guests would like to take an ocean voyage with Viking but what is that number in reality. I can’t count how many times I’ve filled out a post cruise survey asking such questions -” Would you like to sail Alaska etc..?” The answer is always yes, have I gone yet? No.
    I wish them success with their new venture, the ship is certainly beautiful from what I see here.

  4. Mardi Mitchell

    May 17, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Wishing you great success. I am very impressed with what I have read so far regarding the new Viking Star. I am a former employee of Royal Viking Line. This is one of a kind indeed. Anxious to see the final result.

    All the best,
    Mardi Mitchell

  5. Mardi Mitchell

    May 17, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Very impressive. Looking forward to the end result.
    Former employee of Royal Viking Line.
    As we sail away..

    All the best
    Kind regards
    Mardi Mitchell

  6. Hank

    May 17, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Yay! The long bow is back! I think that the last long bow I can think of is the QM2…Am I missing any passenger ships with long bows?

  7. Kalle Id

    May 17, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Everything about this ship seems superbly impressive… except the name. VIKING STAR has got to be the least inspired, most boring name for such an otherwise brilliant ship ever. Especially considering the fact that Viking have thus far had some superb names on their river cruise fleet.

  8. Peter Knego

    May 17, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Kalle, you have a great point, especially considering all the forward-thinking elements in this particular ship. Of course so many of us have come to expect either uninspired (star, sky, dawn, etc.) or insipid (Breakaway, Allure, Azurra etc.) names but I’m kind of thinking the goal here was a nod to Royal Viking and their first. Only thing missing is the “Royal” prefix. — Peter

  9. Kalle Id

    May 17, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Peter: There is the Royal Viking Star link, true, but (at least for me) that doesn’t make the uninspired name any better. Furthermore, the name Viking Star reminds me of Viking Line’s awful-looking 1980s duo Viking Saga & Viking Song (I mean, see for yourself: http://www.simplonpc.co.uk/Viking_Song.html).

    I was quite disappointed to discover that Viking Ocean only mail their brochures to the US and Canada. I would have loved to have one myself. Of course I can view it online but it’s not really the same thing.

    As a final note, the Viking Line ferry operator mentioned above owns the rights to the Viking Cruises name at least in Finland and Sweden, possibly in other parts of Europe as well. It will be interesting to see if there will be any legal repercussions between the two Vikings.

  10. Wes

    May 18, 2013 at 4:21 am

    Thank you for a superb article.

    Thanks to Ralph Grizzle’s FB link of the Viking vid found on their home page yesterday early morn..after 30 min on the site and an hour with a Viking rep–we booked the Maiden. We sail Silversea and Regent regularly but this ship’s illustrative magnetism and Vikings ocean concept pulled us right in. Also, convinced at least four other couples to book the maiden as well..imagine another six of our cruise critic friends will book down the road too. Only wish gratuities were included as well..does anyone know what the convention for these is? Thanks in advance.

  11. anthony nicholas

    May 18, 2013 at 6:07 am

    Wonderful looking ship, and a truly exciting premise. And- as Peter rightly noted- only the ‘Royal’ was omitted as a prefix to ‘Viking Star’.

    The industry needs more diversity of this kind, size wise especially. It’s going to be very interesting to watch the genesis of this proud, beautiful new ship.

  12. Kenenth Eden

    May 18, 2013 at 6:27 am

    Thank you Glenn for posting the link to USA Today. Found within the link one will find Carnival pulls out of Europe and the reason is air fare.

    We canceled one European cruise and one repositioning cruise this year due to air – we will not pay more for air than the discounted price of the cruise, apparently, we are not alone in that either.

    Air fare aside, the regulations on lugggae and the cramping of seats, add dirty toilets and there it is right out there. Flying sucks. Period.

  13. Dawn

    May 18, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Sounds wonderful. The only thing that would keep me away would be the fact there is no more than 1 sea day on any of their cruises. I love seeing ports, the culture, the history, etc., but I also love a few sea days scattered in a cruise, 2 or 3 ports in a row then a sea day to relax, read a book, enjoy lectures or ship activities, and also give my brain and body a rest to be anxious to go see another port again. Port intensive is just too much for me. I end up unable to recall where I was a few days previously.. and not caring due to too much info day after day. But they’ll do well with what looks like a fabulous ship.

  14. Rob

    May 18, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    I know the target audience is 55+, but speaking as someone half that age, this and the Oceania newbuilds are the first new ships in a decade that I have been really excited about. It’s almost like traditional “real” cruising is subtly coming back in style.

  15. POSH

    May 21, 2013 at 5:06 am

    These ships look rather bland IMO, nothing special compared to the current roundup of cruise ships, except they are smaller. But so are Oceania and Azamara ships…the interiors look very bland as well.

  16. Alan Mackenzie

    May 21, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Now that, I like! Restrained and elegant, a very welcome contrast to many of the new behemoths rolling off the production line!

  17. Alan Bevan

    September 19, 2013 at 7:35 am

    Nice to see another luxury cruiseline entering the market. I look forward to my first personal trip also.

  18. Earl Lauridsen

    September 20, 2013 at 10:43 am

    The reminder e-mail of this week of the 2015 cruises prompted me to contact my travel agent to book us to the Viking Homelands cruise. My heritage is Danish so off we go. This will be our 4th Viking cruise.

  19. Frank Schoof

    April 11, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Booked22th August Mediteranian Cruise looking forward from true Aussie

  20. Tom Gauthier

    May 18, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    We are already booked for July 2016 to the “Viking Homelands.”
    After cruising on the Danube last year–I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas!

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