According to Italian shipbuilding tradition, the ceremony is significant because it denotes a ship moving into its final stage of construction. Viking Star's float out began at approximately 10:30 a.m. local time, when a "madrina"—a woman of honor—cut a cord to allow water to begin flowing into the ship's building dock. After the two-day process that set Viking Star afloat, she was moved to a nearby outfitting dock for final construction and interior build-out. With a total of three sister ships now under construction, Viking Star will be the first to debut in early 2015 with maiden voyages in Scandinavia and the Baltic; and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean.
"Today is a proud day for our entire Viking family, as we are one step closer to launching a new era of ocean cruising," Viking Cruises Chairman Torstein Hagen said at the ceremony. "Viking Star's maiden season was sold out before she even touched water, which just demonstrates how enthusiastic our guests are for destination-focused ocean cruises. It is this enthusiasm that has led us to place orders for two additional sister ships, Viking Sea and Viking Sky."
Viking developed its ocean cruises with experienced travelers in mind and extensive feedback and input from Viking River Cruises passengers. Itineraries are designed for maximum time in port, often with late evenings or overnights, so guests can experience local nightlife or evening performances. Ports include both cosmopolitan cities and "collector ports," and appeal to those with an interest in history, art, and culture. In addition, Viking Inclusive Cruising provides unparalleled value—with every cruise fare including a veranda stateroom, shore excursions in each port of call, all onboard meals, and all port charges and government taxes. Guests also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including: beer and wine with lunch and dinner service; Wi-Fi; self-service laundry, and 24-hour room service—a value of more than $2,400 per couple for an average cruise.
Considered a "small ship," the 930-passenger Viking Star, as well as its two sister ships under construction, Viking Sea and Viking Sky, is engineered at a scale that allows direct access into most ports, so guests have easy and efficient embarkation and debarkation. Light-filled and intimate, the ship features understated elegance and modern Scandinavian design. Highlights include:
-- All Veranda Staterooms: Guests can choose from five stateroom categories, starting from a 270 sq. ft. veranda stateroom, all with king-size beds, large showers, and LCD TVs.From now through June 30, 2014, Viking is offering U.S. residents an Early Booking Discount with 2-for-1 pricing on cruise departures and savings of up to $2,000 per couple on international air.
-- Explorer Suites: Viking Star features 14 two-room Explorer Suites, ranging from 757 to 1,163 sq. ft., that offer views from wrap-around verandas as well as the most amenities of any category onboard.
-- Two Pool Choices: In addition to the Main Pool with a retractable dome permitting any-season swimming, the ship features a glass-backed infinity pool, cantilevered off the stern, allowing passengers to swim surrounded by their destination.
-- The 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.
-- Explorers' Lounge & Wintergarden: Spaces designed to facilitate mingling and storytelling, the two-deck Explorers' Lounge at the bow is the perfect spot for taking in scenery through double-height windows over a glass of aquavit or pint of local craft beer; and the Wintergarden is a serene environment in which to relax and enjoy afternoon tea service.
-- Dining Choices: Viking Star offers multiple restaurant locations and food choices—from The Restaurant and the World Cafe, serving a variety of global cuisines and regional specialties—to intimate dining experiences at The Chef's Table, Italian Grill, and The Kitchen Table, all serving meals prepared with fresh, local ingredients. With multiple choices for outdoor seating during meals, Viking's ocean ships offer more al fresco dining than any other ships.
-- Enriching Entertainment: Connecting passengers to their destinations through authentic experiences is central to Viking Cruises, and onboard venues include a dramatic three-deck atrium where passengers can enjoy musicians playing regional and classical music; the Star Theater, home of enrichment lectures from scholars and experts; an onboard cooking school where guests can learn local specialties; and the Viking Piano Lounge, where guests can relax and socialize.
-- Sustainable Features: Viking Star features energy-efficient hybrid engines, hydro-dynamically optimized streamlined hulls and bows for maximum fuel efficiency, onboard solar panels, and equipment that minimizes exhaust pollution and meets the strictest environmental regulations.
Image Courtesy Viking Ocean Cruises