Viking Star, the first of at least three nearly identical ships in Viking Ocean Cruises' all-new fleet, offers an experience that very nearly borders on luxury.
Even better, Viking Star represents one of the industry's best value-for-money options. Its cruises are offered at a moderate price point (along the lines of a larger stateroom or suite on Princess, Celebrity and Holland America) but are far more inclusive than those upmarket, big-ship options. Complimentary extras include transfers, free-flowing beer and wine at lunch and dinner, and a tour in every port (along with extra-fee shore excursion options). The biggest inclusion is unlimited free Wi-Fi. Very few amenities incur extra charges for services -- mainly one dining experience and spa treatments. The majority of restaurants and the spa's relaxation areas are all free of charge.
Viking is positioning cruises on Viking Star and Viking Sea, its next ship to debut (2016), as destination-focused experiences. Itineraries offer few days at sea. Destination-focused enrichment is a significant part of the ship's onboard offerings. In addition to port-packed schedules on each cruise, the line spends longer days at dock than most and offers a nice range of overnights, as well.
The ship itself is meant to serve as a backdrop to the ports it visits, a floating version of a boutique hotel. The irony is that it's so beautifully designed -- with terrific indoor lounging areas, gorgeous collectibles and a Viking history alcove, one of the most beautiful pool areas at sea, an elegant spa on a par with a five-star hotel, and superb dining and crew service -- you'll wish for more time aboard. We sure did.