Voices of Travel

SAILING THE OCEAN BLUE

Viking Cruises has now launched its ocean product line — Viking Ocean Cruises — marking the introduction of the travel industry’s first new cruise line in nearly a decade. Developed from the ground up to return the focus of cruising to the destination, Viking Ocean Cruises will begin sailing in May 2015 with its first vessel, the Viking Star, embarking on maiden voyages in Scandinavia and the Baltic; and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean. Viking Cruises has aggressive expansion plans in both the ocean and river cruise categories, with a second ocean ship on order for delivery in 2016 and conditional orders and options for four more additional ocean vessels. The ocean ship order follows the company’s continued rapid fleet expansion in the river cruise sector, with 10 new river ships recently christened in March of this year and 12 new river ships planned to launch in 2014. Commenting on the launch, Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking Cruises, said: “It is our view that in the race to build bigger ships, many cruise lines have lost sight of the destinations to which they sail.” And he continued: “With our new ocean cruises, we are applying the same principles behind our award-winning river cruises to our itinerary and ship design; privileged-access excursions; and onboard experiences to make destinations the true focus.” Based on feedback from Viking River Cruises passengers, Viking Ocean Cruises was developed with experienced travellers in mind. Itineraries are curated for maximum time in port, often with late evenings or overnights, so guests can experience local nightlife or evening performances. Ports include both cosmopolitan cities and “collector ports,” and appeal to those with an interest in history, art and culture. In addition, all-inclusive pricing 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. Passengers also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including: beer and wine with lunch and dinner service; wi-fi; self-service laundry and 24-hour room service a value of more than $2,400 per couple for an average cruise. Go to http://www.vikingcruises.com/oceans for additional information.

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