CRUISE CRITIC MEMBERS GIVE TOP HONORS TO VIKING STAR
Viking’s First Ocean Ship Sweeps Three Categories in 6th Annual Cruisers’ Choice Awards
Los Angeles (February 12, 2016) – Fresh off its win as “Best New Ocean Ship” in the Cruise Critic® Editors’ Picks Awards, the first ship from Viking Ocean Cruises® (www.vikingoceancruises.com) has just received more top honors from the popular online cruise resource. Viking is today celebrating that the 930-guest Viking Star, which launched less than a year ago, received three top awards in the 6th Annual Cruisers’ Choice Awards. Viking Star received First Place Placements in three award categories – and in each instance was also the highest-rated ship in the cruise industry: Best Cruise Ship for First-Timers; Best Cruise Ship Cabins; and Best Cruise Ship Public Rooms. Cruise Critic is the world’s leading cruise reviews site and online cruise community, and the Cruisers’ Choice Awards name the best cruise ships in the world, based solely on ratings submitted with member reviews published on the Cruise Critic website for cruises taken in 2015.
“Cruise Critic’s members are some of the most engaged voices in our industry, and it is rewarding and encouraging to be honored by them,” said Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen. “We set out to reinvent ocean cruising with the launch of Viking Star and to have received such high accolades in her first year of operation speaks to the impact we have had on the expectations of a typical cruise experience. We strive to deliver enriching experiences, in the highest of comforts onboard our small ships, be it on the rivers or the oceans, and I am very proud of our remarkable team that continue to realize this vision”.
“The Cruisers’ Choice Awards serve as a true stamp of approval from cruisers. With hundreds of ships reviewed each year by thousands of cruisers, the winners of these awards stand as the absolute best of the best,” said Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor-in-chief of Cruise Critic.
In addition to its first place wins in the Cruisers’ Choice Awards, Viking Star also ranked among member reviews for awards in the other Small Ship categories: Best Dining; Best Entertainment; Best Fitness & Recreation; Best Shore Excursions; Best Value; Best Service; and Best Embarkation. These wins also come on the heels of Viking Star being rated number one in its category in the recently released Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2016 and Viking Ocean Cruises being rated number three in the Best Ocean Cruise Line category in the USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards.
The all-veranda Viking Star is the first of three ocean ships for Viking Ocean Cruises and launched in early 2015. Two additional sister ships, Viking Sea and Viking Sky are under construction and will be delivered in March 2016 and early 2017, respectively. Viking’s ocean fleet is engineered at a scale that allows direct access into most ports, so guests have easy and efficient embarkation and disembarkation. Classified by Cruise Critic as “small ships,” the ships feature 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 private verandas and premium amenities that include king-size beds with luxury linens, large showers, luxury toiletries and large interactive flat-screen LCD TVs with movies-on-demand.
- Explorer Suites: The ship features 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 ship features 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.”
- 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.
- 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 Star offers 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 Star features 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.
Viking Ocean Cruises
Viking developed its ocean cruises by leveraging extensive feedback and input from Viking River Cruises® passengers, and with experienced travelers in mind. Itineraries are designed to spend more time in port, with fewer days at sea and more overnight stays, so guests can have ample time to immerse themselves more fully in each destination. 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; premium dining reservations; Wi-Fi; self-service laundry; access to the Thermal Suite in the LivNordic Spa; and 24-hour room service—a value of more than $2,400 per couple for an average cruise.
From now through February 29, 2016, Viking is offering U.S. residents a 2016 Special Savings Discount with 2-for-1 pricing on cruise departures, plus up to $1,500 per couple off airfare. Contact a travel agent or call Viking toll free at 1-855-8-VIKING (1-855-884-5464).
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About Viking Cruises
Viking Cruises offers destination-centric river and ocean cruising designed for experienced travelers with an interest in geography, culture and history. Featuring onboard cultural enrichment and included shore excursions, Viking’s journeys are competitively priced for genuine value. As the world’s leading river cruise line, since its 1997 inception the company has grown to a fleet of 60 river vessels (in 2015) offering scenic cruising along the rivers of Europe, Russia, Ukraine, Egypt, China and Southeast Asia. Named Cruise Critic’s “Best New Ocean Ship” of 2015, the sophisticated state-of-the-art Viking Star hosts 930 guests on itineraries in Scandinavia and the Baltic; the Western and Eastern Mediterranean; and the British Isles. Starting in 2016 Viking Star will also host guests on itineraries in North America and the Caribbean. Two additional ocean ships, Viking Sea and Viking Sky, are on order. In 2015 Viking was rated the highest of all cruise lines in Travel + Leisure’s “World’s Best” Awards after appearing on – and topping – the river cruise rankings multiple times. Viking has also been honored multiple times Condé Nast Traveler’s “Gold List” as well as recognized by the editors of Cruise Critic as “Best River Cruise Line” and “Best River Itineraries,” with the entire Viking Longships® fleet being named “Best New River Ships” in the website’s Editors’ Picks Awards. The travel trade has ranked Viking as the “Best River Cruise Line” by Travel Weekly, Recommend and Travel Agent magazines, “Best Cruise Line for Luxury River Cruises” at the Luxury Travel Advisor Awards of Excellence and as “Best Overall Cruise Line for River Cruising,” “Best New River Cruise Ship” and for the seventh consecutive year, “Best River Cruise Line for Travel Agent Support” in the 2015 TravelAge West’s WAVE Awards. For additional information, contact Viking Cruises at 1 855 8-VIKING (1 855 884 5464) or visit www.vikingcruises.com. To join the Viking Cruises community online, visit www.facebook.com/vikingcruises, www.facebook.com/vikingoceancruises and www.facebook.com/vikingrivercruises.