|The atrium or Living Room of Viking Star includes a grand staircase, Steinway grand piano and a changing image at the top of the staircase. // Photo by Susan J. Young|
Viking Ocean Cruises christened its first ship, the 930-passenger Viking Star, this past weekend in Bergen, Norway. The 47,800-ton ship is now off sailing itineraries throughout Scandinavia, the Baltic region and beyond.
Travel Agent just returned from inspecting the ship, and we will have a complete review in the June 15 issue of Travel Agent magazine. Today, we’re providing photos of The Living Room, the atrium of the 465-stateroom ship. It’s light-filled with modern Scandinavian décor -- more like a space within your home than a razzle-dazzle atrium.
Seating areas within this space – spread over three levels – are individual in nature. They’re not cookie-cutter and not of the same materials or colors. Sofas, in some cases, have cozy throws, while macrame window dressings are reminiscent of traditional Norwegian handiwork.
This Living Room as with other parts of the ship were designed by the same interior design team that created Viking River Cruises’ popular Longships. Wood paneling reflects the Viking tradition, and the rugs are stylized versions of architectural drawings of ancient Viking ships, with elevations, cross sections and plans represented in various scales.
|The Viking Star's Living Room is more akin to relaxing in a home environment than being on a razzle-dazzle cruise ship with action around every corner. // Photo by Susan J. Young|
A grand, wide staircase extends straight up two decks to a changing photographic or artistic image which extends from the base of the second deck to the top of the third deck. It’s a focal point for the space and is different depending on when you visit.
At the foot of the stairs is a large open space and Steinway grand piano. Here a piano player, small string groups, an individual guitar player and others performed during the evening hours. .
Look below the stairs and you’ll see a geometrically shaped garden, which takes inspiration from the wild lichen of Norway’s Finse Mountain Plateau.
Look up to the ceiling and you’ll see ribbed forms in the ceiling, a feature from Viking ships.
The purser’s desk and shore desk continue the same “living room” casual lay-out. Viking opted out of the more formal approach for those desks that one sees on most lines.
A small Internet café is nestled behind the garden and under the staircase; Internet/WiFi is free on this ship. That said, many guests simply nestled into the Living Room’s seating areas with their own tablet or SmartPhone.
Around the Living Room, throughout day, night and the full length of our five-night cruise, guests were observed reading books, playing board games including Monopoly, Backgammon and Scrabble, and playing cards.
Simply put, this definitely isn’t a “wow” ship in the sense of multiple active activity options and loud entertainment. Instead, it's akin to sinking into an easy chair with a good book, putting your mind at ease and chatting with family or new friends met on the ship.
|The Viking Library is a pleasant, simplistic area with books for guests to peruse and pull to read. A more full-bodied library is available within Explorer's Lounge's second level. // Photo by Susan J. Young|
The Viking Library has a selection of books that guests can pull out and enjoy at their leisure. Many of the books onboard focus on an “Exploratory” mindset, with tales not only of Viking explorers, but also Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic adventures, Imperial Airlines (in 1935 with a 13,000-mile route from Britain to Australia) and other pioneer, maritime or adventure topics.
The Living Room Bar on the lower level serves drinks, including wine, beer, cocktails and apertifs, priced reasonably – most in the $2 to $6 range, with some exceptions. Nuts were also served.
The Living Room Bar has this cozy seating area with leather chairs. // Photo by Susan J. Young
If guests ask, the bar also serves small “tidbit” type fare displayed in a glass case at the bar -- such as crispy sticks or a light pastry with black olive spread between the layers. At lunch time, it also had antipasto samples.
The bar itself is an example of Viking craftsmanship using the “clinker built” technique of overlapping panels of smooth wood. The old Viking ships were similarly constructed. The bar has a nice backdrop and high bar stools, but we nestled into leather chairs at tables nearby and were served promptly.
The Living Room is the heart of Viking Star. It also gives a good indication of the type of cruise this ship delivers – low-key, laid-back, destination-focused and relaxing.
Guests on our cruise were definitely mature clients for the most part (the majority late 60s to 80s, with many on the higher end of that age scale). That said, given the start-up for this line, there were 125 people sailing on our cruise for 50 days, so not your typical clientele.
|A string trio played evenings in the Living Room atrium. // Photo by Susan J. Young|
Still, without a casino, rock-climbing walls or water parks, and clearly without a mindset for having kids onboard, this ship by its nature attracts a more mature group -- most experienced travelers from what we could determine.
As we sank into a chair in the Living Room, listened to soft guitar music or a string trio, enjoyed a drink and watched the other guests just relaxing, it’s clear the ship is making its own space within the industry.
Previously, we provided a slide show of our own accommodations, Penthouse Verandah Stateroom #5099.
Stay tuned to www.travelagentcentral.com for photos of other spaces on this new ship including the Viking Spa, the Owner’s Suite and the pools/outdoor spaces.