On October 13 Viking Ocean Cruises welcomed its first ship, Viking Star, into the New York harbor as part of its inaugural North American voyage.
The 930-guest ship docked at Manhattan Cruise Terminal at noon, just after sailing past the Statue of Liberty with a reception by New York Fireboats. On October 11, Viking officially commemorated its first United States port of call in Boston, with a traditional maritime plaque ceremony attended by local officials and dignitaries. This is the first time Viking has sailed into North American ports, which are part of the company's new itineraries exploring the Americas and the Caribbean.
After departing from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal on October 14, Viking Star will sail for San Juan, Puerto Rico, which will serve as its homeport for the winter season. From San Juan, the ship will sail the 11-day West Indies Explorer itinerary, which also calls on ports in the British Virgin Islands, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts, St. Martin and the U.S. Virgin Islands. With no sea days on the itinerary, guests are able to avoid the time at sea typically associated with Caribbean cruises originating in Florida, Viking said. While sailing West Indies Explorer, guests will have an opportunity to learn onboard about the destinations from local experts, historians and lecturers, as well as through a variety of shore excursions, including optional visits to museums, gardens and historic sites. Viking Star will return to Europe in February 2017, with a transatlantic sailing from San Juan to Barcelona.
In addition to the recently christened Viking Sea, Viking will launch four additional ocean sister ships in the coming years, including Viking Sky and Viking Sun in 2017, Viking Spirit in 2018 and the remaining, yet-to-be-named ship in 2020.
Designed by the same team responsible for Viking’s river-going Viking Longships, Viking’s ocean ships have all veranda staterooms and 14 two-room Explorer Suites, as well as two pools, a Main Pool and an Infinity Pool cantilevered off the stern. There is also a LivNordic Spa offering treatments designed to showcase the brand’s Nordic heritage, plus a number of dining spaces: Explorers' Lounge and Mamsen's serve cocktails and snacks, while guests can enjoy afternoon tea under a canopy of Scandinavian trellised wood in The Wintergreen. The Restaurant serves three full meals of fine dining, and the World Café serves international fare and regional specialties. The Chef's Table is a more intimate dining experience, with a multi-course tasting menu complete with wine parings, while Manfredi’s offers pastas and Italian favorites. Additionally, The Kitchen Table experience focuses on regional dishes from market to table, and the Pool Grill specializes in gourmet burgers. Multiple venues offer outdoor seating during meals. For entertainment, the ship offers lectures on history and art, wine tastings, port talks, Destination Performances of folkloric shows and local musicians, and an onboard cooking school. The ship is also designed with sustainability in mind, with energy-efficient hybrid engines, a streamlined hull and equipment to minimize exhaust pollution.
From now through October 31, Viking is offering U.S. residents a special savings of up to $2,000 per couple: up to $1,000 off cruise fare and up to $1,000 off air.