|First glimpse of The World’s Best New Cruise Ship of 2015
Day 4 dawned rainy and the roof top breakfast room at the Hotel Cram was filled with unhappy tourists. I could not have cared less. Because from the rooftop, I could see the funnel of the ship. Boarding time was 11:00 am and it was all I could do to contain myself from racing down and waiting for embarkation to begin. I barely restrained myself, packing up and finally getting into a taxi at the stroke of 11. Off I went to Moll Addosat, the enormous cruise ship facility constructed to welcome up to 11 cruise liners in a day. One day last summer, 56,000 passengers came and went from the port, the largest cruise ship stop in the Mediterranean and the fourth largest in the world. I am relieved to tell you that there was nowhere near that number of cruisers the day we arrived on board Viking Star.
There she was, gleaming, white and at 750 feet long and 47,000 tons, still one of the smallest of the ships in port that day. Dwarfed by the monster sized Celebrity Eclipse and an equally enormous Costa monstrosity , Viking Star is nonetheless most imposing. And that was just from the outside. The ship, launched in April of this year, is an absolute beauty–so beautiful that she was just named the Best New Cruise Ship of 2015. The Star is the first for Viking Ocean cruises, built upon the phenomenal success of the Viking River Longships which have captivated passengers, thousands of whom immediately signed on to sail on this, the first of a planned ten sister ships. Some of them booked the minute they heard she would be built. And none of them have been the least bit disappointed.
|Intimate areas like this make the ship
have a small-ship
feel sadly lacking in the Mega ships.
|The Aquavit Terrace, a favorite aboard the Longships
transplanted to the Viking Star
If there is a ‘new ship smell’, it’s the first thing you notice upon embarkation. A clean scent which could easily come from the finishes used through the ship. This is Scandinavia through and through. The pride of Norwegians in their maritime heritage is on display throughout this art-filled, light filled ship. Put aside any thoughts or visions or pictures of the Las Vegas interiors that are de rigeur in mass-market cruising. This is pure class and style. Despite the fact that she carries almost 1000 passengers and almost 500 crew, there’s a sense of space that Viking Ocean has filled with paintings and books and history. There are nooks to read and quiet corners everywhere. Even the dining room arrangements (of which there are 7) have an intimacy that nixes any Banquet Hall feeling for that of intimate restaurants and private clubs. I arrived at 11:30, aware that my stateroom access would come at 1 o’clock. And after a light lunch on the Aquavit Terrace, a bring back from the River Longships, but now not on the bow but rather the stern of the ship, I walked down one flight of stairs to cabin 6082. Tomorrow, I will tell you all about it.