Viking Star Cabins

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Keeping it simple, Viking Star only offers a handful of cabin categories, all with private verandas. Decor, as befits the ship's theme, is contemporary with a simple, Scandinavian feel, using light woods and nautical colors.

Beds, with superb mattresses, can be converted into one king or two twins. Each room has a seating area, a desk with inset drawer that pops up to convert into a vanity, a safe (large enough for a laptop) and individual climate control. Flat-screen televisions are loaded with interactive services, TV and movies on demand, TED talks and enrichment lectures. Robes and slippers are provided, as is a hair dryer.

Outlets are plentiful and range from 110 to 220 volts, including both European and American plug options. You must put your keycard into a slot near the door to power the lights and electrical outlets. Direct dial phones and complimentary Wi-Fi are on offer. (Note that in most cabins the phone is on the desk, not next to the bed, making wake-up calls a little less convenient but potentially more effective.)

One interesting feature is a line of small lights under the full-length mirror, which can serve as a night light and point the way to the bathroom in the dark. This feature caused some confusion for some guests, however, as the button to flip them off is next to the bed, not near the lights themselves, and the light is perhaps brighter than you'd like for sleeping.

Bathrooms are superb, even at the lowest category, with glassed-in showers, sleek styling, plenty of storage, Freyja toiletries and -- the biggest indulgence -- heated tile floors and towel racks. Each shower has a shelf for toiletries and a retractable clothesline for hanging wet clothes.

Specific categories are as follows:

Veranda and Deluxe Veranda: These categories are largely identical, especially in size (224-square-foot cabins with additional 46-square-foot balconies). These staterooms feature seating areas, each with two armchairs and a coffee table; outside on each balcony are another two chairs with a table high enough to dine on. The minor difference is that the entry-level priced Veranda has no mini-bar, and passengers are not entitled to pre-book restaurant reservations. Veranda cabins also lack the binoculars, coffee maker and cashmere blanket that come with all other categories. Deluxe Verandas each have a mini-bar that's stocked daily with complimentary juice and soda. Passengers in Deluxe Verandas can check in to their cabins an hour earlier than those in Verandas (2 p.m. instead of 3 p.m. on embarkation day).

Penthouse Veranda: This stateroom represents a bigger leap, both in space and services. It measures 280 square feet and has a slightly larger balcony at 58 square feet. (The balcony furniture is the same as in the other Veranda categories.) The added space means there's a larger seating area, with both a sofa and an easy chair. Extra drawers provide more storage, and the bathroom is just a little bit more generous, with a larger shower than in the Deluxe and Veranda categories. Complimentary alcoholic drinks join sodas, juice and snacks in the minibar at this level. Service perks include priority reservations at the main restaurant and the ship's two alternative eateries, as well as complimentary pressing and shoe shining. Passengers in this category can access their cabins at 1 p.m. on embarkation day.

Penthouse Junior Suite: The smallest of the three suite categories, the Penthouse Junior Suite measures 336 square feet, with a veranda that's got 69 square feet of lounge space. The living area, though still part of one main room, is particularly comfortable with a couch and two easy chairs. One flat-screen television hangs across the bed, and another lies opposite the seating area. A curtain can divide the bedroom from the living space. Key perks that come with this category include the ability to check in to the cabin at 11 a.m., guaranteed reservations in the ship's alternative restaurants and complimentary dry-cleaning and laundry, in addition to pressing and shoe shining. Mini-bar offerings are the same as those in Penthouse Veranda staterooms, as is the balcony furniture. The ship's two handicapped-accessible cabins are in this category, with roll-in showers and roll-out balconies.

Explorer Suite: The Explorer Suites, which vary in size from 458 to 700 square feet with an additional 167 to 490 square feet of balcony space, are located on the corners at the front and back of the ship, which gives them wraparound views on two sides. There are differences between those located forward and aft. Those facing the ship's wake have more sprawling balconies, decorated with futon-like single beds, as well as slightly smaller living rooms and cozy bathrooms with windows that look out onto the verandas. Explorer Suites all the way forward have larger bathrooms (with televisions instead of views) and living rooms that are also more generously sized. In the "nice touch" category, the forward balconies have glass windbreaks so that they're comfortable even when the ship is sailing and it's windy. (Wind doesn't affect the aft balconies as much.) The forward balconies do not wrap all the way around the way the aft balconies do. Each Explorer Suite features a dining table for four, a living room with a couch and a pair of armchairs, and walk-in closets. Perks are otherwise similar to those of the Penthouse Junior Suite.

Owner's Suite: What's most memorable about the Owner's Suite is not just its sprawling size (1,319 square feet inside, with 156 square feet of balcony space), but also that its decor was influenced by Viking president Torstein Hagen, a Norway native. Personal touches abound, from family photos to favorite books and wines. It feels more like a comfortable New York apartment than a cruise ship suite. The suite features a living room, wet bar and dining nook that seats six, along with a powder room. The balcony is equipped with cushioned wooden loungers for two, as well as a table and two chairs. Its bedroom has a king-sized bed and walk-in closet. The master bathroom features double sinks, a large glassed-in power-shower and a private ocean-view sauna -- a rare find on a cruise ship. Also unusual for a cruise ship suite: This one's got its own boardroom, so Hagen (or any other passenger staying in the suite) can hold meetings while onboard. It's also useful for large dinner parties. (There's even a small oven in the butler's pantry.) The boardroom has its own powder room and can be shut off, via locked doors, from the rest of the suite.

Key perks that come with this category include the ability to check in to the cabin at 11 a.m., guaranteed reservations in the ship's alternative restaurants and complimentary dry-cleaning and laundry, in addition to pressing and shoe shining. The suite's mini-bar can be custom stocked.

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