The second cruise ship of Viking Ocean Cruises, Viking Sea, has embarked on her maiden voyage from Istanbul to Venice, officially doubling the size of the company's fleet and continuing its vision for destination-focused cruises.
From Venice, Viking Sea will sail through the Mediterranean and into the Atlantic on her way to be officially christened on May 5 on London's Thames River in Greenwich. Following the christening, Viking Sea will spend her maiden season sailing itineraries in Scandinavia and the Baltic, as well as the Western and Eastern Mediterranean.
Classified by Cruise Critic as "small ships," Viking's ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, boast 465 cabins and accommodate 930 passengers. Viking Sea is the second of six ocean cruise ships on order. The third ship, Viking Sky, will be delivered in early 2017; the three remaining yet-to-be-named ships will be delivered in late 2017, 2018 and 2020, respectively.
Designed for discerning travelers, Viking offers guests "the thinking person's cruise" as an alternative to mainstream cruises. The Viking Difference is providing guests with extraordinarily well-designed cruises that bring them closer to the cultures of the world. Itineraries are designed for maximum time in port, often with late evenings or overnights, so guests can experience local culture at night or evening performances. Ports include both cosmopolitan cities and "collector ports," appealing to those with an interest in history, art, music, and cuisine. And only The Viking Way brings guests itineraries that feature Local Life, Working World and Privileged Access experiences.
While every cruise fare includes a guided excursion in each port, Viking's optional excursion program was designed to provide guests with enriching experiences that go beyond the iconic and expected. Highlighted examples include:
Cooking with a Countess, Venice, Italy – Countessa Lelia Passi welcomes Viking guests to her home, which has been in her family for hundreds of years. In the magnificent surroundings of this lavish palace, the countess and her teaching staff share with guests the secrets of Italian cooking.
Sail & Swim the French Riviera, Toulon, France – Guests have the opportunity to try their hand at sailing a luxury sailboat on the Bay of Toulon. Weather permitting, the yacht will anchor in one of many small coves, where guests can relax with a drink or snack, or perhaps a swim in the warm waters of the Mediterranean.
A Normandy Countryside Cheese & Brandy Tasting – In the village of Pont L'Évêque, savor a special Norman lunch amidst the Calvados barrels of Les Tonneaux du Père Magloire restaurant. After your meal, you will visit the cellars to learn how apples are transformed into the "eau de vie," the water of life—Normandy's favorite brandy.
King Crab Safari, Honningsvåg, Norway – Guests set off in a deep-sea raft into the pristine waters of Sarnesfjorden, where the vistas are breathtaking, with green slopes soaring on all sides. From there, fishermen guides show guests how prized king crabs are harvested before heading back to shore, where a feast is prepared under a Sami tent.
Fjord Safari to a Goat Cheese Farm, Flåm, Norway – This tour provides the rare opportunity to experience Norway's great outdoors by small boat and by hiking trail through a spectacular fjord—all rewarded with lunch at an authentic farm.
A Beer Lover's Adventure & Walking Tour, Ålborg, Denmark – Giests sample some of the best-loved Danish beers on this walking tour of the district surrounding Jomfru Ane Gade, where Danes come to relax and enjoy local brews.
Jerusalem & Bethlehem Private Tour – Guests have an opportunity to tailor their exploration of Jerusalem and Bethlehem to suit their personal interests with a private guide and transportation.
From now through April 30, 2016, Viking is offering U.S. residents 2016 Special Savings and 2017 Early Booking Discounts with 2-for-1 pricing on cruise departures and up to free air. Viking Inclusive Cruising provides a small ship experience at a big ship 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. Guests also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including: beer and wine with lunch and dinner service; premium dining reservations; Wi-Fi; self-service laundry; access to the Thermal Suite in the LivNordic Spa; and 24-hour room service—a value of more than $2,400 per couple for an average cruise. Contact a travel agent or call Viking toll free at 1-855-8-VIKING (1-855-884-5464).