Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Not Yet Rated
Ship: NYR out of 500
Accommodation: NYR out of 200
Food: 0 out of 400
Service: NYR out of 400
Entertainment: 0 out of 100
Cruise: 0 out of 400
Overall Score: NYR out of 2000
Viking Star Statistics
Size: Mid-size Ship
Cruise Line: Viking Ocean Cruises
Former Names: none
IMO Number: n/a
Builder: Fincantieri (Italy)
Original Cost: $400 million
Entered Service: May 2015
Length (ft/m): 754.5/230.0
Beam (ft/m): 94.5/28.8
Draft (ft/m): 20.7/6.3
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric / 2
Passenger Decks: 9
Total Crew: 545
Passengers (lower beds): 928
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 51.5
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 1.7
Cabins (total): 465
Size Range (sq ft/m): 270.0-1,163.0/25.0-108.0
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 464
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 7
Wheelchair accessibility: Good
Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts
Casino (gaming tables): No
Slot Machines: No
Swimming Pools: 1
Hot Tubs (on deck): 1
Self-Service Launderette: Yes
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: Yes/65
Onboard currency: US$
This very smart-looking premium ship is for the well-traveled
Overview. Viking Star is a really smart-looking contemporary ship that exudes style, and is aimed squarely at adults. It has a lot of public areas and dining options for its size, plus an abundance of glass walls that help connect you with the sea on every level.
The Ship. The sleek, uncluttered design of this ship is focused on enhancing the destination experience (rather than the ship being your only destination), so throughout the ship you’ll find interactive stations that provide a wealth of destination information. What you won’t find is overly opulent or glitzy surroundings - the result of design elements that are more like a Hyatt (premium) than a Four Seasons hotel (luxe).
A walk-around teak-covered promenade deck is on a lower deck (Deck 2) so it’s fairly well sheltered from any wind - good for a stroll. Meanwhile, on the largest upper open deck, a sliding glass dome covers the main pool deck on the deck below, which includes a Wintergarden just forward of the main pool; aft of the pool is a large screen for poolside movies. Another pool on the same deck, but at the aft of the ship, is an ‘Infinity’ pool that is part of something called Aquavit Terrace - an al fresco casual eatery.
At two decks high, the Explorer’s Lounge is a supremely comfortable observation lounge with great views; it incorporates a library, plenty of practical seating, and a deli counter called Viking Deli - so it’s rather like an all-in-one living space.
Viking Ocean Cruises is the first new start-up cruise line to build new ships since 1998, when Disney Cruise Line built two. It’s the sister company of the well-established and highly experienced Viking River Cruises. It has certainly concentrated on devising itineraries that really are destination-rich and immersive, so the shore excursion program is focused much more on the cultural experience.
Overall, the company has positioned itself fairly and squarely against Azamara Club Cruises and Oceania Cruises, with newer ships (and with much larger shower enclosures, for example), lower pricing, and with more things included. Viking Star is almost an all-inclusive ship. With extremely good value lead-in per diems and included Wi-Fi, an included shore excursion in each port of call, overnight stays in embarkation and disembarkation ports, and complimentary beer and wine with lunch and dinner, Viking Ocean Cruises really is the new game in town.
Accommodation. There are just five types of accommodation categories (plus an Owner’s Suite that is conveniently positioned adjacent to the Explorer’s Lounge), but with many different prices according to deck and location. All have a private balcony (Viking likes to call them verandas).
Viking likes to keep things like interior decor simple - a philosophy that has worked very well for its river cruise division. It is comfortable and practical, but perhaps a little minimalist, which is typical of the Scandinavian approach.
All accommodation grades feature a Viking-size bed, and even the smallest cabin has a shower enclosure spacious enough to bathe in. If you like more space, the Explorer Suites, located at the very front or back of the ship, are the ones to go for, most of which have a wrap-around balcony.
Dining. There are several restaurants and eateries to choose from, all of which operate on an open-seating basis so you can sit with whom you like, when you like, and all of which are included in the cruise price. Most also have an al fresco option (in fact, there is a great emphasis on dining in fresh air).
The main restaurant is called, quite simply, The Restaurant (it has a sliding glass wall that can open onto the wrap-around promenade deck aft, with a few tables for al fresco dining, weather permitting).
The cuisine is decidedly international, but with some ‘always available’ comfort classics. The focus is on regional and sustainably sourced ingredients.
Other dining venues. The first three of these are located on the deck below the main dining room (The Restaurant). Manfredi’s Italian Grill features Italian food with a focus on Tuscany. The Chef’s Table is for a food and wine-paired specialty dining experience. The Kitchen Table is an intimate venue for chef’s selections at night, while during the daytime the venue can be used for cooking classes.
Viking Deli is part of the Explorer’s Lounge, on its lower level. World Café (Lido Café) also has an outdoor area known as the Aquavit Terrace that is adjacent to an ‘infinity’ pool and hot tub.
Additionally, complimentary specialty coffees and teas are available around-the-clock, as is 24-hour room service, while an afternoon ‘High Tea’ can be experienced in The Wintergarden.
Entertainment. The 295-seat Star Theater is the ship’s single-deck-height showlounge, designed more for cabaret acts, recitals, and lectures rather than large production shows. This is because most of the experience aboard this ship involves the destinations (including overnight visits in some), so there’s little need for entertainment on a grand scale.
Spa/Fitness. The Spa is located indoors, on the lowest passenger deck. It includes a beauty salon, fitness center, sauna, and a ‘snow’ (ice) room.