Viking Star is Christened in Bergen, Norway

Viking Star maneuvers into position at 9:00p.m. on Sunday, May 17 in Bergen, Norway. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Viking Star maneuvers into position at 9:00p.m. on Sunday, May 17 in Bergen, Norway. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Aaron Saunders, Live Voyage Reports

Sunday, May 17, 2015

I’m time-jumping a bit in this report. If you’re wondering what happened to Saturday, May 16th, here’s the lowdown: the small press group I was a part of disembarked the ship. We then spent the day exploring Norway and Bergen. Boringly, we went to bed early – and slept in late. Today is, after all, going to be a very big day.

You can read all about my journey through Bergen from the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Bergen through the streets of Bergen on the morning of Norwegian Constitution Day as a prelude to the christening of Viking CruisesViking Star by clicking here. I’d posted it early in the afternoon because of how symbolic it was to have Viking Star and the former Royal Viking Star (now Black Watch) in port on the same day.

The evening started out at Bergen's concert hall, known as The Greig... Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

The evening started out at Bergen’s concert hall, known as The Greig… Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

...on a gorgeous spring evening. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

…on a gorgeous spring evening. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

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Our Live Voyage Report aboard Viking Cruises oceangoing Viking Star has sadly come to a close, but stay tuned for a full photo-tour of Viking Cruises’ Viking Star and a complete recap of our journey! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.

 

 

Arrival Bergen: One Step Closer to The Big Day

Welcome to Bergen, Viking Star! Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Welcome to Bergen, Viking Star! Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Aaron Saunders, Live Voyage Reports

Friday, May 15, 2015

I’m not sure who the Norse god of the weather is, but he (or she) must absolutely love Viking Cruises. I’ve been to Bergen, Norway twice before, but I have never seen a day like this. Viking Star was completely illuminated by the overpowering sunshine, her superstructure glistening and flickering with the reflection of the light bouncing off the crystal-blue waters.

6AM Never Looked So Good: passing under the Askoy Bridge; gateway to Bergen. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

6AM Never Looked So Good: passing under the Sotra Bridge; gateway to Bergen. In the distance is the Askoy Bridge. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

The colour of the water was matched only by the colour of the sky, which was uniformly blue with not a single cloud to be seen anywhere. This is the first time I’ve been to Bergen that it hasn’t absolutely poured rain – and the timing couldn’t be better. Even if it dumps on us on Christening Day, today was a photographer’s dream come true – a fact that was driven home by the helicopter that repeatedly buzzed the ship as we entered the harbour. I’m not sure if it was the rotors I heard, or the rapid-burst of a DSLR camera! Even I managed to rattle off 200 photos of our entry between 06:30 and the time when we docked at 07:30.

The view from my balcony. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

The view from my balcony. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Passing under the Askoy Bridge. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Passing under the Askoy Bridge. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Up on Deck 7 forward of the Explorer's Lounge, a most spectacular Norwegian day was unfolding. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Up on Deck 7 forward of the Explorer’s Lounge, a most spectacular Norwegian day was unfolding. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

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Our Live Voyage Report aboard Viking Cruises oceangoing Viking Star continues tomorrow as Viking Star is officially christened – by the entire town of Bergen, Norway! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.

 

Cruising the North Sea with Viking

My favorite piece of art onboard Viking Cruises' new Viking Star: "Nordic Sunset" by Norwegian-born Ulf Nilsen. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

My favorite piece of art onboard Viking Cruises’ new Viking Star: “Nordic Sunset” by Norwegian-born Ulf Nilsen. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Viking Cruises Viking Star was greeted by cold temperatures and grey skies for the first time on our journey so far. Still, at 7:00a.m., I braved the wind and the chill and went for a two-mile walk around the Promenade Deck on Deck 2 – and I wasn’t alone. Other guests were also using the Promenade for an early morning jog. I liked that. It convinces me of the worth of one of my favorite spaces, in an age where so many lines seem eager to get rid of it entirely.

Viking Star's spacious promenade deck, photographed during our evening in Greenwich, England. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Viking Star’s spacious promenade deck, photographed during our evening in Greenwich, England. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Despite the cold temperatures and moderate swell, guests were undeterred. With the magrodome cover fully shut, the midships pool area and adjacent Wintergarden were comfortably warm. It’s such smart space – and so rare that it can be enjoyed in beautiful weather like we’ve had for the last two days, and in inclement weather like today.

Unlike other cruise ships I’ve been on that have had magrodome-covered pools, the one aboard Viking Star almost completely lacks humidity. It also doesn’t have that heavy chlorine smell that can be prevalent on other ships. Credit here goes to a massive number of recirculating vents that pull the air from the entire midships pool area and exchange it. The end result is a public space that is comfortable to sit in and enjoy at any time.

Strolling along Viking Star's uppermost decks this morning. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Strolling along Viking Star’s uppermost decks this morning. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

The lack of humidity in the pool is just one of many technological enhancements that occur behind-the-scenes. But the biggest has been reserved for how Viking Star moves through the water in the first place.

Rather than utilising the pivoting Azipod propulsion systems that many newbuilds feature, Viking Star has become the first-ever cruise ship to feature the Rolls-Royce Promas propulsion system.

Viking Star is the first newbuild cruise ship to feature the Rolls-Royce Promas propulsion system. Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce

Viking Star is the first newbuild cruise ship to feature the Rolls-Royce Promas propulsion system. Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce

Essentially, Rolls-Royce Promas is made up of two traditional, shaft-driven propellers that operate on a variable-pitch arrangement. This means that the blades can be “feathered” or rotated to increase, decrease, or reverse the motion of the ship, all without changing the direction of the shaft itself.

What makes Rolls-Royce Promas different from other systems is that the flap-style rudders are positioned within centimetres of the end caps of the propellers and fitted with a prefabricated “bulb” that bows out like a jet engine. In fact, at first glance it nearly looks as though the two are connected – but they’re not. Instead, this arrangement allows the flow of water to pass more cleanly between the spinning screws and the rudder flaps. This reduces drag and wake turbulence, which can result in fuel savings of between five and fifteen percent. The reduction in wake turbulence and cavitation means that guests experience a smoother ride.

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Our Live Voyage Report aboard Viking Cruises oceangoing Viking Star continues tomorrow as we arrive in and explore Bergen, Norway! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.

 

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