More than a thousand years since they last sailed up the Thames, the vikings are back in London.But instead of threatening pillage, these Scandinavians are bringing the latest word in cruise ship design to the capital. Viking Cruises’ first ever ocean-going cruise ship, Viking Star, sailed through the Thames barrier on 12, May during its maiden voyage.
The nine-deck passenger ship sailed past London landmarks including Canary Wharf, the O2 Arena, and Greenwich’s Royal Naval College. It was anchored overnight at Greenwich, before continuing its journey to the Norwegian city of Bergen where it was christened during the country’s Constitution Day Celebrations on May 17.
Viking Star marks the travel industry’s first entirely new cruise line in a decade and is among the largest to sail up the Thames. After being formally launched, the ship will take passengers on voyages from the brand’s homeland in Scandinavia and the Baltic through to the Western and Eastern Mediterranean – mapping the path of Viking traders and warriors who journeyed as far as Istanbul. Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises, said he aimed to buck the trend for building bigger cruise liners by creating a smaller ship that can easily access its historic destinations.
The brand provides more overnight stays in important ports and fewer days at sea, giving passengers more time to enjoy the behind the scenes tours of world class museums it offers. Mr Hagen said: ‘We have always believed that cruising should be about connecting you to your destination – not just taking you to places on a map. 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.’
What is available on board Viking star?
Weighing nearly half-a-million tons, the ship accommodates 930 passengers in 465 staterooms – each with its own veranda and king sized bed. So everyone can enjoy the view from a balcony, along with king-size beds, large showers, and LCD TVs. Explorer Suites: Viking Star features 14 Explorer Suites, which are two-room suites ranging from 757 to 1,163 sq. ft. that offer sweeping views from wrap-around private verandas. As well as the main pool with a retractable dome, there is also a glass-backed infinity pool. The Spa embraces the centuries-old tradition of the sauna and even has a ‘snow grotto’ where snowflakes gently descend from the ceiling.
So, enjoy our trip. Meanwhile, Viking Cruises is aiming to launch nine more ocean liners in the next few years, with Viking Sea being released in 2016 and Viking Sky coming in 2017.