The second of Viking Ocean Cruises’ sextet of cruise ships will make her formal commercial debut on April 3rd, 2016.
Currently nearing completion at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy. the 47,000 ton Viking Sea will sail on an inaugural, nine night voyage from Athens through to Venice, with stops in Istanbul, Kusadasi, Kotor, Pula, and Dubrovnik en route.
During her first season, Viking Sea will sail spring and summer Baltic itineraries, before returning to the warmer waters of the Mediterranean at the end of July. From here, she will sail year round to the highlights of Greece, Egypt and Turkey while her sister ship- the already in service Viking Star- redeploys to the Caribbean for a maiden season of cruises based out of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Those eleven night Caribbean sailings are actually quite port intensive, with a first night spent on board the ship in San Juan, and subsequent calls to Tortola, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts, St. Maarten and St. Thomas, before returning to San Juan. Prices, including flights, transfers and all guided tours, free Wi-Fi and beer and wine with lunch and dinner, as well as free use of all sauna and on board spa facilities, begin at £2,490 per person.
Meanwhile, Viking Sea will sail a mixture of nine. twelve and fourteen night itineraries in Europe on a year round basis. Many of these can be combined to create a truly inclusive, three week adventure.
Of especial note is an advertised, thirty five night Nordic Explorer adventure, taking the ship from Athens all the way through the Mediterranean to Bergen, via the western Mediterranean and coast of Europe, sailing on April 3rd from Athens.
For those interested in her maiden UK arrival, Viking Sea is scheduled to be in Southampton on Thursday, May 5th. First arrival in her home port of Bergen, Norway, will take the form of a two day stay on May 8/9th.
It will be interesting to see how the company markets this second of class ship after the grand splash (pun intentional) created by Viking Star last year. This whole ‘back to the future’ style of cruising that the line strives to offer seems to emphasise a very inclusive kind of understated luxe as opposed to a sensational, fairground ride kind of adrenaline rush.
It remains a fact that, while the first ship of a company is a statement of intent, then the second ship has to cement that reputation and ensure a smooth, onward product progression. In many ways, more is actually riding on Viking Sea than many people have perhaps considered.
That said, there is every reason for optimism. As ever, stay tuned for updates.