A Journey to England to Meet a Star

Join us this week as we travel to London to sail to Bergen, Norway aboard Viking Cruises' new Viking Star. Rendering courtesy of Viking Cruises.

Join us this week as we travel to London to sail to Bergen, Norway aboard Viking Cruises’ new Viking Star. Rendering courtesy of Viking Cruises.

Victory awaits him who has everything in order – luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time. This is called bad luck.”

Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen

Once upon a time, there was a Norwegian man by the name of Roald Amundsen. Born in the small parish of Borge in 1872, he would go on to become one of the world’s most daring and successful polar explorers of all time.

He also had a great talent for doing what others couldn’t: despite centuries of failed expeditions to the North and South Poles, Amundsen ending up claiming both victories for himself and for Norway in 1926 and 1911, respectively. He also singlehandedly succeeded in discovering the fabled Northwest Passage in 1906. A one-man-wrecking-ball, Amundsen was a huge thorn in the side of contemporaries like Scott, Shackleton, and Mawson simply for his freakish ability to succeed in the face of extreme odds.

Viking Cruises founder Torstein Hagen is a bit like Amundsen – and not just because he’s of Norwegian descent. No. I draw the parallel between Hagen and Amundsen because of both men’s dogged determination to succeed where others have failed, and due to their willingness to challenge conventional thought.

Continual refinements, like the wooden slat atrium accents aboard Viking Bragi, help keep the Longships cutting-edge after only a year in service. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Viking’s Longship river cruise ships have substantially changed the face of river cruising. Now, Viking is prepared to take their inimitable brand of cruising to the oceans of the world. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

At the helm of one of the most unbelievably successful (river) cruise lines of all time, you’d think that after earning two consecutive Guinness World Records for most ships launched in a single day (Viking Longships, 2013 and 2014) and the fact that the company just can’t build more Longships fast enough to keep up with the demand, that Hagen might feel secure enough to kick back. Relax. Have an aquavit. The man is, after all, in his 70’s.

That assumption would be to underestimate Hagen’s plans for the future. That future includes ocean cruising – Viking style. And that’s where the brand-new, 930-guest Viking Star comes in. Best of all, we’re sailing aboard her for a firsthand look as we travel from London, England to Bergen, Norway from May 12 – 17, 2015.

The Wintergarden aboard Viking Star will feature a retractable roof and will be conveniently situated near the midships pool. Illustration courtesy of Viking Cruises

The Wintergarden aboard Viking Star will feature a retractable roof and will be conveniently situated near the midships pool. Illustration courtesy of Viking Cruises

Viking’s first-ever oceangoing cruise ship is generating a lot of buzz – and deservedly so. After all, the line is bucking several trends in the industry by building a midsized ship that holds just under a thousand guests who will be staying in all-balcony accommodations – all of which feature an enormous amount of inclusions.

Although I have several colleagues who have cruised aboard Viking Star recently, I’ve made a concerted effort to look and read nothing they’ve written, for one basic reason: I want to discovery my own Viking Star. Having said that, here’s what excites me most about this cool 754-foot long ship:

  • Viking Longship-Styling, On The Ocean: I love the soothing Scandinavian styling and sensibilities of Viking’s trendsetting river cruise ships, and seeing what interior designers can do when given a substantially larger canvas is exciting to me.
  • Say hello to complimentary shore excursion options; beer, wine and soft drinks with lunch and dinner; 24-hour specialty coffees and teas; and no specialty restaurant fees.
  • No tacky s**t. If you’re looking for robot bartenders, surfing simulators and circus schools, go to Vegas. This is a ship that truly embraces the beauty of being on the oceans – if early renderings and general arrangement plans are accurate, this ship could be one of the most open and airy on the ocean.
  • Luxury Style Cruising, Half the Price. Viking Star offers some decidedly luxe inclusions, like all-balcony accommodations in staterooms that are far larger than average. Throw in all the complimentary offerings, and Viking is poised to run with the big boys at Oceania, Seabourn and Silversea.

So follow along with me as I sail aboard Viking Star from Greenwich (London) to Viking Star’s beautiful Hanseatic port of Bergen, Norway this week – and be sure to tune in on Sunday, May 17, as we witness another slice of history in the homeland of the Vikings!

The sun sets on Celebrity's Summit as she sails from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Photo © Aaron Saunders

Photo © Aaron Saunders

Our Live Voyage Report aboard Viking Cruises oceangoing Viking Star continues tomorrow from Greenwich, London, England! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.



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