Posted by: cruise2 | 15 January, 2014

Traditional Cruising To Return In 2015

By Kevin Griffin of The Cruise People writing for cybercruises.com

The cruise line that promises to bring back cruising as it should be has to be Los Angeles-based Viking Cruises, whose first ship of six (four on order, two options), the 47,800-ton 930-guest Viking Star, enters service in May 2015, with a maiden voyage from Bergen. No mammoths, no leviathans, no silly attractions, no loud crowds, no huge drive for on board spend, no children, just cruising as it should be, with the sea and with destinations in mind.

Viking Star - Courtesy of Viking Cruises

Viking Star – Courtesy of Viking Cruises

With a passenger space ratio in excess of 50 tons per passenger, these will be spacious ships, offering five stateroom categories ranging from 270 to 1,448 sq ft, the latter for a two-room Explorer Suite.

They will also strike just the right tone of inclusivity combined with a concentration on destinations. Like Regent Seven Seas, Viking will include shore excursions – but only a set number.

And unlike Regent’s stable mate Oceania, Viking will include complimentary house wine and beer with lunch and dinner, where all drinks on Oceania are extra. The Viking mix will be unlike any line that’s in business now save for some of the small ship companies.

The full-page advertisements that started appearing this month for Viking Cruises’ 2015-16 season say a lot. For one thing, they name some pretty good prices seeing that all staterooms come with a veranda, using the words “Great Value.”

They also say what is included and in the UK this is made up of:

* Free flights from the UK
* Veranda stateroom
* Guided shore excursions (8 to 11 per cruise)
* Complimentary house wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
* Complimentary Wi-Fi
* Complimentary 24-hour room service
* A “Culture Curriculum”
* No surcharges once deposit is paid

They also state that all meals are included along with 24-hour complimentary tea and coffee.

Sample itineraries include the “Romantic Mediterranean,” 8 days from Barcelona to Rome (with 8 tours), from £1,749 per passenger in double occupancy, “Viking Homelands,”15 days from Stockholm to Bergen including St Petersburg (11 tours), from £3,499 and “Passage Through Western Europe.” 15 days from Bergen to Barcelona, from £3,299.

The ships are being built by Italy’s Fincantieri.

Note that Kevin, being in the UK, states rates in sterling.  In North America the rates will be in $US.

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