Published on October 8th, 2017 | by Glynn Chesnut
SHIP REVIEW: Viking Cruises Debuts the Posh New Viking Sky
Viking Cruises was founded in Russia in 1997 with just four ships. In 2017, as the company celebrates its 20th anniversary, it has a fleet of 59 river ships and 3 ocean ships, with 4 more on order, and was rated the #1 Ocean Cruise Line in Travel & Leisure World’s Best Awards in 2016. Recently I was delighted to have the opportunity to tour their newest ocean ship, the Sky, on its first visit to New York City.
This fall marks the maiden season of Viking cruises to Cuba, and many other South and Central American destinations are offered in the company’s extensive selection of worldwide itineraries.
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When you board any Viking ship, you’ll immediately see that they live up to the company motto, “Exploring the World in Comfort.” The elegant simplicity of the décor creates an ambiance of luxury and relaxation. There is no casino, and no passengers under age 18 are permitted.
THE STATEROOMS: Every room on the ocean ships includes a private veranda, a king-size bed, ample closet space, heated bathroom floors, and toiletries designed exclusively for Viking by the Freyja Collection. A variety of stateroom options are available; price varies with size.
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SHIP FEATURES: Viking ocean ships feature many inviting and comfortable public areas where passengers can relax with a book or a glass of wine in between port excursions. Amenities also include two swimming pools, a salon, movie theatre, cabaret lounge (a classical chamber music group was rehearsing during our tour), fitness center, putting green, and several shops offering gifts, cosmetics, clothing and jewelry. In addition to massages and facials, the ship’s spa features two unique places to chill out after your sauna – the Snow Grotto, where fresh snow is manufactured every day, and an alcove where you can dump a bucket of ice water on your head – not for the faint of heart!
The ships also have plenty of practical features, including a free self-service laundry room on each deck so you can minimize your baggage by washing your clothes en route. Just relax with a cocktail at the bar while you wait for the dryer to finish.
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Every Viking cruise seeks to enrich the traveler’s appreciation of local history and culture. The Viking Art Guide app can be downloaded to travelers’ personal electronic devices to provide commentary on the ship’s artwork and cultural displays. Passengers can attend lectures, performances and classes, and enjoy regional cuisine and wine selections at no additional cost in the ship’s many restaurants. Wine and beer are included with lunch and dinner, and are available for purchase (along with cocktails) between meals.
All Viking cruises include excursions at every port – most are included with the price of the cruise.
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BEST FOR: Travelers age 55+ who are interested in exploring the history and culture of their destination, and who want to travel in comfort and style.
Viking Caribbean & the Americas Cruises include:
• Cultural Cuba (Miami to Miami – 8 days, 2 countries – ports include Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba) – from $2,649 per person
• Turquoise Caribbean Seas (Miami to Miami – 8 days, 3 countries, with ports in Belize and Mexico) – from $1,999 per person
• Panama & Central America (Miami to Miami – 15 days, 8 countries, with ports in Belize, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Jamaica, and the Cayman Islands) – from $3,499 per person
• West Indies Explorer (San Juan to San Juan – 11 days, 9 countries, with ports in the British Virgin Islands, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Martin and St. Thomas) – from $2,949 per person
• New York, Bermuda and the West Indies (New York City to San Juan – 15 days, 9 countries, with ports in Bermuda, Antigua, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Martin, the British Virgin Islands and St. Thomas) – from $3,299 per person)
• South America & the Caribbean (San Juan to San Juan – 11 days, 6 countries, with ports in the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Aruba, Curacao, and St. Kitts & Nevis) – from $3,149 per person
• From the Caribbean to the Amazon (San Juan to San Juan – 22 days, 8 countries, with ports in Barbados, French Guiana, Brazil, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Lucia, Antigua, and St. Thomas) – from $5,949 per person
• From Miami into the Amazon (Miami to San Juan – 22 days, 9 countries, with ports in Barbados, French Guiana, Brazil, Grenada, St. Lucia, Antigua, and St. Thomas) – from $6,999 per person
• Cuba, Panama & the Pacific (Miami to Los Angeles – 22 days, 8 countries, with ports in Cuba, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico) – from $6,299 per person
• Around the Caribbean Sea (New York City to Miami – 15 days, 8 countries, with ports in Bermuda, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, Curacao, Aruba, Jamaica and Cayman Islands) – from $3,299 per person
INFO AND RESERVATIONS: www.vikingcruises.com