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  • Viking-Ocean-Ship-Explorer-Suite-Bathroom.jpg -  The bathroom of an Explorer Suite on Viking Ocean Cruises.
  • Viking-Star-deluxe-veranda - The Deluxe Veranda on Viking Star measures 270 square feet and holds a king size bed or two doubles.
  • Viking-Star-Penthouse-Junior-Suite - Consider an upgrade to a Penthouse Junior Suite on Viking Star, especially if you're looking to take a longer cruise.
  • Viking-Star-Explorer-Suite-bathroom - The nicely appointed bathroom of the Explorer Suite on Viking Star.
  • Viking-Star-Explorer-Suite-veranda - The Explorer Suite veranda offers personal lounges and space to relax during your Viking Star cruise.
  • Viking-Star-at-dusk.jpg - Viking Star at dusk, docked in Kusadasi, Turkey.
  • Viking-Star-docked-in-Istanbul.jpg - A few of the bow of Viking Star docked in Istanbul, Turkey.
  • Viking-Star-in-Istanbul.jpg - A side view of the pretty Viking Star in Istanbul, Turkey.
  • Viking-Star-on-Bosphorus.jpg - A tour boat passes Viking Star as she's docked in Istanbul.
  • Viking-Star-tender-and-lifeboat.jpg - Tenders and lifeboats on the side of Viking Star.
  • Viking-Star-along-Norway-coast - Viking Star in Flam, a village along a scenic 18-mile fjord in Norway.
  • Viking-Star-in-Dubrovnik - Viking Star in historic Dubrovnik, Croatia.
  • Viking-Star-in-London - Viking Star in London shortly after her launch in May 2015.
  • Viking-Star-in-Kotor - Viking Star sits dockside, right in the heart of historic Kotor, Montenegro.
  • Viking-Star-in-Kotor - Viking Star sits dockside, right in the heart of historic Kotor, Montenegro.
  • Viking-Star-Main-Pool-roof-closed - Travelers will have three swimming pools to choose from, including a main pool that features a retractable roof.
  • Oia-Santorini-4 - Overlooking the sugarcube houses and shimmering bay in Oia on the Greek island of Santorini.
  • Viking-Star-Atrium2 - The classy and spacious Atrium on Viking Star.
  • Temple-of-Celsus - The ancient Temple of Celsus in Ephesus, Turkey.
  • Viking-Star-Wintergarden - Enjoy afternoon tea in the Wintergarden on your Viking Ocean Cruises sailing.
  • Viking-Star-in-Flam-Norway - Viking Star in Flam, a village along a scenic 18-mile fjord in Norway.
  • Viking-Star-Living-Room - The Living Room on Viking Star includes a sitting area where you can read or just relax.
  • Viking-Star-Spa - Take some time to be pampered in the Spa on Viking Star.
  • Pula-amphitheater-exterior - The ancient amphitheater at Pula, Croatia.
  • Temple-of-Hadrian-in-Ephesus.jpg - The Temple of Hadrian in Ephesus, built circa 135 A.D. to honor the Roman emperor Hadrian, who came to visit the city from Athens in 129 A.D.
  • Viking-Star-Atrium - The Atrium of the Viking Star features clean lines and a Scandinavian flair.
  • Viking-Star-Infinity-Pool - Spend a relaxing afternoon on the Aquavit Terrace on  Viking Star.
  • Viking-Star-Spa-Snow-Room - You can be chillin' in the Snow Room in the Spa on Viking Star.
  • Viking-Star-Restaurant-Bar - Viking Star offers six bar areas where guests can congregate and share stories of their travels.
  • Oia-Santorini-9 - Oia, on the Greek island of Santorini, offers one of the most scenic lookouts in the world.
  • Viking-Star-Deluxe-Veranda - All rooms on Viking Star feature a veranda (or balcony). This one is a Deluxe Veranda, which offers a bit more floor space.
  • Viking-Star-Istanbul - Viking Star cruises through the waters of Istanbul.
  • Viking-Star-Venice - Viking Star seen from the Grand Canal in Venice.
  • Viking-Star-Aquavit-Terrace-Bar - At the end of the day, meet old friends and new at the Aquavit Terrace Bar on Viking Star.
  • Viking-Star-Bayeaux-replica - The Atrium on Viking Star features a replica of the Bayeaux Tapestry, a nod to the culture of the ports it calls on.
  • Viking-Star-Explorers-Lounge - Take in the view and do some people watching in the Explorers Lounge aboard Viking Star.
  • Viking-Star-Main-Pool - Lounge spaces abound on Viking Star, where the main pool features a retractable roof.
  • Viking-Star-Wintergarden-night - The Wintergarden of Viking Star at night.
  • Viking-Star-docked-in-Kotor-Bay.jpg - Viking Star on a day when she's the only cruise ship in Kotor Bay.
  • Kusadasi-Castle.jpg - Kusadasi Castle, or the Fortress of Kusadasi, is a 13th century Byzantine castle near the port of  Kuşadası.
  • Ephesus-amphitheater.jpg - The Great Theatre of Ephesus was built in the first century AD and later renovated by several Roman emperors. It consists of 66 rows of solid stone seats divided into three sections.
  • Ephesus-angel.jpg - Stone carving of an angel at Ephesus, Turkey.
  • Ephesus-columnsb.jpg - Remnants of columns at Ephesus, Turkey.
  • Inscription-at-Library-of-Celsus-1.jpg - The Library of Celsus was completed in 135 AD as a mausoleum for Celsus, a Roman senator who was buried in a sarcophagus beneath the library's entrance.
  • Viking-Star-along-Norway-coast - Viking Star in Flam, a village along a scenic 18-mile fjord in Norway.
  • Viking-Star-in-Dubrovnik - Viking Star in historic Dubrovnik, Croatia.
  • Viking-Star-Main-Pool-roof-open - In sunny weather, the roof over the main pool on Viking Star can be opened to let the sun shine.
  • Viking-Star-in-Lisbon - Viking Star in Lisbon, Portugal. The ship has itineraries to both northern Europe and the Mediterranean.
  • Viking-Star-in-Stockholm-Archipeligo - Viking Star in the waters off Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Viking-Star-guide - A Viking Star tour guide leads a shore excursion at the Acropolis in Athens.
  • Viking-Star-and-Kotor-Bay-1 - Viking Star and the surrounding idyllic landscape of Kotor, Montenegro.
  • Viking-Star-Manfredis-lamb-chops - Perfectly prepared lamb chops served at Manfredi's Italian Restaurant  on Viking Star.
  • Viking-Star-Chefs-Table-dish - A Spicy Tuna Tataki, with coriander and peppercorns, served during a Chef's Table meal aboard Viking Star.
  • Viking-Star-Mamsens-waffle - The Norwegian waffle with cream and fresh berries served for breakfast at Mamsen's on Viking Star.
  • Viking-Star-Aquavit-Terrace.jpg - Look for casual al fresco dining in the Aquavit Terrace in the aft section of Viking Star.
  • Viking-Star-mamsens.jpg - A look at the Mamsen's dining venue on Viking Star.
  • Viking-Star-Kitchen-Table - A peek inside the Kitchen Table on Viking Star.
  • Viking-Ocean-Ship-The-Kitchen-Table.jpg - On Viking, the Kitchen Table is an exclusive shopping and dining experience that lets passengers cook with the chef for a fee.
  • Viking-Ocean-Ship-The-Restaurant-window.jpg - Watch the passing landscapes from the Restaurant, the main dining venue on your Viking ocean ship.
  • Viking-Star-Manfredi - Viking ocean ships feature six restaurants, including Manfredi's, perhaps the best Italian restaurant at sea.
  • Viking-Star-Mamsen - Mamsen's is a café on Viking Star that features Scandinavian fare.
  • Viking-Star-Theater-production - A musical production in the Star Theater on Viking Star.
  • Viking-Star-Rat-Pack-Revisited-3 - Three talented singers perform in "The Rat Pack Revisited," one of the shows aboard Viking Star.
  • Viking-Star-main-pool - The main pool on Viking Star as evening falls.
  • Viking-Star-Theater - The Theater on Viking Star features live performances related to the cultures encountered on each itinerary as well as enrichment lectures and films.
  • Viking-Star-Library - The Living Room on deck 1 of your Viking ocean ship. (This was taken on Viking Star.)
  • Viking-Star-bartender - A bartender aboard Viking Star shortly before he showed us a card trick.
  • Viking-Star-Spa2 - Visit the Spa on your Viking ocean ship to unwind in comfort. It's free for all guests.
  • Viking-Star-infinity-pool-in-Dubrovnik - The infinity pool on Viking Star looks out over Dubrovnik, Croatia.
  • Viking-Star-Atrium-1 - The classy Atrium of Viking Star rises three decks in the heart of the ship.
  • Viking-Star-Main-Pool-roof-closed - Travelers will have three swimming pools to choose from, including a main pool that features a retractable roof.
  • Viking-Star-cellist - A cellist performs in the Living Room of Viking Star.
  • Viking-Star-Wintergarden-finger-sandwiches - Finger sandwiches served along with tea in the Wintergarden on Viking Star.
  • Cruise-ship-safety.jpg - "Do not lean over": Good advice aboard Viking Star.
  • Viking-Star-Explorers-Lounge.jpg - Read rare books or inspect ship models in the two-deck Explorers' Lounge on Viking Star.
  • Viking-Star-Wintergarden.jpg - Wintergarden, the lounge on your Viking ocean ship where afternoon tea is served daily, sports a light-filled look.
  • Viking-tour-guide-in-Kotor.jpg - A tour guide for Viking leads her group on a two-hour tour of Old Kotor in Montenegro.
  • blue-drink.jpg - A cool blue drink served in the Explorer's Lounge on Viking Star.
  • Drinks-aboard-Viking-Star.jpg - Colorful cocktails served in the Explorers' Lounge on Viking Star.
  • WiFi-repeater-on-Viking-Star.jpg - One of the Wi-Fi repeaters on Viking Star, making Wi-Fi connectivity more reliable.
  • Viking-Star-Explorers-Lounge-1.jpg - The pretty bar in the Explorers' Lounge observation deck on your Viking Ocean ship. (This was taken on Viking Star.)
  • viking-snow-grotto.jpg -
  • viking-main-pool-chairs.jpg - When they're not stopping at exotic destinations around the world, passengers will be able to soak up some sun at the main pool.
  • viking-living-room.jpg - Read in relaxation in the Living Room on your Viking ocean cruise.
  • Viking-Star-logo-at-night.jpg - The Viking Star logo is illuminated at night on Viking Star.
  • Viking-spa-fireplace.jpg - Relax and unwind in the free spa facility, lit by a glowing fireplace, on your Viking ocean cruise.
  • Viking-spa-fireplace-1.jpg - Cozy up to a fireplace in the LivNordic Spa on your Viking Ocean Cruises ship. The spa area is open to all guests at no charge.
  • Explorers-Lounge-Windows-Stairs-Night.jpg - The two-story Explorers Lounge on a Viking ocean ship is the perfect place to watch the twilight in an exotic destination.
  • Main-Pool-Promenade.jpg - Relax with a book or watch the scenery in a lounge chair next to the main pool on your Viking ocean voyage.
  • viking-ocean-ship-aquavit-and-pool.jpg -  Grab a bite at the Aquavit Terrace or hop into the infinity pool on your Viking ocean ship.
  • Viking-Ocean-Ship-Aquavit-Terrace.jpg -  Dine with a cool ocean breeze on your face at Aquavit Terrace on Viking Ocean Cruises.
  • Viking-Ocean-Ship-Explorers-Lounge.jpg - Share a cocktail, linger over a Norwegian breakfast or check out a nautical history book at the Explorers Lounge on Viking ocean cruises.
  • Viking-Ocean-Ship-Salon.jpg -  The salon reception area on your Viking ocean ship.
  • Viking-Star-bar-waitress - Bar server Ivana Vugovic next to a Viking ship replica in the Explorers Lounge on Viking Star.
  • Viking-Star-bartender-and-Ivana - Bar server Ivana Vugovic gets silly with a bartender aboard Viking Star.
  • Viking-Star-captain - Captain Atle Hahon Knutsen on the bridge of Viking Star.
  • Viking-Star-Chief-Engineer - Chief engineer Peter Nilsson in his office in the crew quarters of Viking Star.
  • Viking-Star-cruise-director - Viking Star cruise director Aaron Syfert in the Star Theater aboard Viking's first ocean ship.
  • Viking-Star-GM-Karl-Eckl - Viking Star General Manager Karl Eckl in the Living Room of Viking Star.
  • Viking-Star-guest-services-manager-Martha-Hanley - Martha Hanley, guest services manager of Viking Star, in the Atrium outside the Explorers Desk.
  • Viking-Star-Chief-Engineer2 - Chief engineer Peter Nilsson in his office in the crew quarters of Viking Star.
  • Viking-Star-crew-members - Chief engineer Peter Nilsson, right, with two other ship engineers standing aside the Viking Star.
  • Viking-Star-classical-trio - A classical trio performs in the Atrium of Viking Star.
  • Viking-Star-balcony-stateroom-2.jpg - A balcony stateroom on Viking Star on the first night of a sailing.
  • Viking-Star-balcony-stateroom-bathroom.jpg - The bathroom of a balcony stateroom on Viking Star.
  • Viking-Star-balcony-stateroom.jpg - A balcony stateroom on Viking Star on the first night of a sailing.
  • Blue-Mosque-interior - Inside the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey.
  • Kotor-terminal - Kotor as seen right from the cruise ship terminal.
  • Viking-Star-in-Kotor - Viking Star sits dockside, right in the heart of historic Kotor, Montenegro.
  • Dubrovnik-spire - A bell tower overlooks the bay in Old Dubrovnik.
  • Oia-Santorini-4 - Overlooking the sugarcube houses and shimmering bay in Oia on the Greek island of Santorini.
  • lake-Bergen-Norway - Lille Lungegårdsvannet in Bergen, Norway.
  • Kotor-landscape - The pretty landscape of Kotor seen from atop a mountain trail.
  • Hagia-Sophia - The colorful interior of Hagia Sophia, now a museum, in Istanbul.
  • Grand-Bazaar-lamps - Lamps line one of the shops along the main thoroughfare in Istanbul's Grand Bazaar.
  • Topkapi-Palace - Inside Topkapi Palace, one of the highlights of a trip to Istanbul.
  • Dubrovnik-historic-columns - Columns line a historic building in Old Dubrovnik.
  • Temple-of-Celsus - The ancient Temple of Celsus in Ephesus, Turkey.
  • Blue-Mosque-interior-2 - Inside the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey.
  • Rosenborg-Castle - Rosenborg Castle is a Renaissance style castle in Copenhagen that was originally built as a country summerhouse in 1606.
  • Hagia-Sophia-Jesus-relief - A relief of Jesus Christ and two of the apostles inside Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.
  • Oia-Santorini-9 - Oia, on the Greek island of Santorini, offers one of the most scenic lookouts in the world.
  • Dubrovnik-battlements-2 - The waterfront lining the battlements along history-filled Old Dubrovnik.
  • Pula-amphitheater-exterior - The ancient amphitheater at Pula, Croatia.
  • Viking-Star-Old-Kotor - Viking Star docked in Old Kotor. During busy summer months there are as many as five cruise ships in port, but on this November day there was only one.
  • istanbul-grand-bazaar-inside.jpg - Shopkeepers at the entrance of their stores in Istanbul's Grand Bazaar.
  • grand-bazaar-lanterns.jpg - Do not rub the magic lanterns! At the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
  • modern-decorative-Turkish-carpet.jpg - A modern decorative Turkish carpet at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
  • modern-turkish-carpets.jpg - Modern Turkish carpets line the entrance to a shop in Istanbul's Grand Bazaar.
  • ornamental-decorations.jpg - Gold- and silver-colored ornamental decorations at the Grand Bazaar.
  • ornamental-platters.jpg - Platters and other decorative ornaments at a shop in the Grand Bazaar.
  • silver-and-gift-shop.jpg - Hilat Silver & Gift Shop at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
  • silver-jewelry-at-Olympic.jpg - You'll find silver jewelry in boutique shops, along with more exotic merchandise, at the Grand Bazaar.
  • modern-turkish-carpets-1.jpg - You'll find Turkish carpets in thousands of different patterns and sizes at the Grand Bazaar.
  • viking-star-in-santorini.jpg - Viking Star, Viking's first ocean ship, sits in the middle of the flooded caldera in Santorini, Greece.
  • viking-star-in-santorini-3.jpg - Viking Star, seen against the cliffs of Santorini, Greece.
  • Kotor-as-seen-from-Viking-Star.jpg - Kotor, a coastal city in Montenegro, as seen from Viking Star. The World Heritage Site has 13,500 residents.
  • Kotor-from-Viking-Star-infinity-pool.jpg - A view of Kotor, Montenegro, from the infinity pool on Viking Star.
  • Kotor-Montenegro-overlook-3.jpg - From this vantage point more than halfway up the Ladder of Kotor, you can see the Old Town, Kotor Bay, the steep winding trail and Viking Star.
  • viking-star-in-kotor.jpg - Viking Star in Kotor, Montenegro.
  • Viking-Ocean-Ship-Antigua.jpg - Sail to Antigua on a Viking ocean ship.
  • Viking-Ocean-Ship-St-Kitts.jpg - Sail to St. Kitts on a Viking ocean ship.
  • Viking-star-in-flam-norway.jpg - Viking Star in Flam, southwestern Norway, known for its magnificent fjords.
  • viking-star-on-thames.jpg - Viking Star on the River Thames in the Greenwich borough of London.
  • amazing-lamps-2.jpg - An assortment of colorful, intricately designed lamps at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
  • lamps-grand-bazaar.jpg - A women admires the assortment of colorful lamps at a shop in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
  • artistic-Turkish-carpet.jpg - A contemporary Turkish carpet spotted at a storefront in Old Istanbul's Grand Bazaar.
  • turkish-carpets-istanbul.jpg - An assortment of Turkish carpets with intricate patterns at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
  • Biblo-Zirh.jpg - A warrior statuette, marked Biblo Zirh, along one of the main walkways in Istanbul's Grand Bazaar.
  • carpet-and-clothing-shop.jpg - A shop selling Turkish carpets and clothing along the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
  • grand-bazaar-ceramics.jpg - A shop selling colorful ceramics and decorative items in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
  • colorful-lamps-grand-bazaar.jpg - Colorful lamps along a side walkway at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey.
  • colorful-lamps.jpg - Colorful lamps spotted at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey.
  • decorative-ornaments-grand-bazaar.jpg - Decorative ornaments in a shop window at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
  • fashionable-handbags.jpg - Fashionable Western-style handbags in a store's display case at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
  • gold-jewelry-at-Engin.jpg - Gold jewelry at Engin, a boutique shop at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
  • gold-plated-chest.jpg - A gold-plated chest in a store window at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
  • hakki-zade.jpg - Pastries in the window of Hakki Zade, an eatery just outside the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
  • inside-grand-bazaar.jpg - Visitors eye the boutique stores along the main hallway of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
  • istanbul-grand-bazaar-entrance.jpg - The entrance to the Kapalicarsi Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
  • Blue-Mosque-interior-3 - The spectacular Blue Mosque, built from 1609 to 1616, during the rule of Ahmed I.
  • cathedral-dubrovnik-croatia - Pipe organ in a cathedral in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
  • Fira-Santorini-Greece - The scenic cityscape of Fira (or Thira) on Santorini, Greece.
  • Viking-Star-and-Kotor-Bay-1 - Viking Star and the surrounding idyllic landscape of Kotor, Montenegro.

Viking Star: New ocean ship offers a near-luxury experience

Our review

Snapshot

Stylish, spry and quite the looker, the first ocean ship from Viking Ocean Cruises gives off the vibe of a different kind of cruise ship. Yes, like its river ship cousins, Viking Star places a big emphasis on place, with itineraries jam-packed with drool-worthy destinations and intriguing shore excursions. But it also manages to provide a near-luxury experience and premium amenities at down-to-earth prices.

Unlike mass market lines with their crowded buffets, endless lines and persistent efforts to pad your final bill, Viking Star offers a refreshing change of pace. Throughout our voyage, we never felt crowded, even for a moment. Crew members are genuinely friendly and relentlessly attentive. And the ship’s décor is honest and modern, featuring clean lines, light-filled spaces and Scandinavian accents, a tribute to the company’s Nordic roots.

Viking Star knows where it came from and seems confident about where it’s going.

Who will like sailing on Viking Star

If you're looking for something fresh and want a cruise experience that is destination-focused with maximum time in port, then this new ship might be ideal. Experienced travelers with an interest in history, art and culture will find a lot to like on the laid-back, genteel Viking Star. The ship is geared to couples in their 30s to 70s rather than to families; the minimum age is 16. As with many other cruise lines, the passenger makeup is a bit homogenous, with many newly retired affluent couples, and Viking says that 95 percent of Viking Star's guests are Americans.

Note: The Star's nearly identical twins have arrived: Viking Sea in April 2016, Viking Sky in February 2017 and Viking Sun in October 2017.

Where Viking Star sails

Viking Star offers cruises throughout Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea as well as the Western and Eastern Mediterranean.

See upcoming cruises on Viking Star

Ratings & awards

Cruiseable           
Cruise Critic           

 

Best Large Ocean Line, Travel & Leisure World's Best Awards (2016, 2017, 2018)
Best Small Ship, Porthole Magazine Readers' Choice Awards (2015)

About Ratings & awards

Cruises on this ship
Oia, on the Greek island of Santorini, offers one of the most scenic lookouts in the world. It was one of the highlights of our cruise on Viking Star.
JD Lasica / Special to CruiseableOia, on the Greek island of Santorini, offers one of the most scenic lookouts in the world. It was one of the highlights of our cruise on Viking Star.

This is no supersized river ship

If you think Viking just supersized its river ships for ocean voyages, think again. Viking Star, which debuted in May 2015, was conceived from the ground up as a new kind of ocean ship. 

Let us count the ways Viking Star differs from Viking's fleet of river ships:

  • It calls on a host of international ports, such as Istanbul, Barcelona, Venice, Dubrovnik and Santorini.
  • It's much larger: 14 decks, 47,800 gross metric tons and 745 feet long with 550 crew members and 465 staterooms and suites holding 930 passengers, making it comparable in size to Crystal Symphony (922 guests), Crystal Serenity (1,070 guests) and Holland America’s petite Prinsendam (835 guests).
  • The ship features six restaurants — all included in your fare — as well as two pools, a spa, fitness center and six bars and lounges.
  • Star has two theaters featuring live performances and movies, with comfy sofas and pillows with images of film legends like Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman.

At 47,800 gross metric tons, the Star is sleek enough to dock at most ports minutes from the heart of the action. We had to take a tender only in Santorini, Greece, and Pula, Croatia.

The ancient Temple of Celsus in Ephesus, Turkey.
JD Lasica / Special to CruiseableThe ancient Temple of Celsus in Ephesus, Turkey.

Where I went & what I loved

My wife and I sailed on the “Empires of the Mediterranean” itinerary in November 2015, along with 840 fellow guests, starting in Istanbul (where we felt completely safe, by the way) and continuing on to Kusadasi (Ephesus), Athens, Santorini, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Pula, and ending in Venice on Thanksgiving morning. 

A Viking Star tour guide leads a shore excursion at the Acropolis in Athens.
JD Lasica / Special to CruiseableA Viking Star tour guide leads a shore excursion at the Acropolis in Athens.

I didn't have a lot of time preparing for this cruise so I relied on Cruiseable's in-depth travel guides, and we came to look forward to the daily Port Talks given by the silky-voiced, entertaining cruise director, Aaron Syfert.

Admirably, Viking provides one shore excursion at each port as part of your fare, as well as giving you the option to sign up for more extensive explorations at an additional cost. The excursions were handled by engaging, knowledgable local guides shepherding about 15 or 20 of us at a time. Less steady were the QuietVox audio receivers, a staple of Viking cruises, which flaked out with some regularity so we couldn't hear the guide's descriptions. (Time for an upgrade, Viking corporate!) 

We had been to Athens, Santorini and Venice before, but not Istanbul, Kotor or Dubrovnik, but we fell in love with all three destinations and hope to return soon. 

The main pool on Viking Star features a retractable roof.
Courtesy of Viking CruisesThe main pool on Viking Star features a retractable roof.

Activities & entertainment on board 

Viking Star is not a ship that parties late into the night — and that's fine, since you'll likely be up at the crack of dawn preparing to hit another port.

Three talented singers perform in
JD Lasica / Special to CruiseableThree talented singers perform in "The Rat Pack Revisited," one of the shows aboard Viking Star.

That said, there's plenty to do on board. Some highlights:

  • The Living Room, on the first floor of the three-deck Atrium, always seemed to be thrumming, with a small ensemble in the evening or solo performers on grand piano or flamenco guitar. Turn to your left and you'll see guests gather around a lively little bar. Gaze up the stairway and you'll see a grand digital screen displaying gorgeous photos of Norwegian scenery. (The ship's captain, fittingly, is from Norway.)
  • The two-story Explorers' Lounge, forward on deck 7, offers sweeping vistas as the ship glides into new ports. And you can browse the exhibits here and the rich tapestries in the stairwells and hallways that honor Viking heritage and depict ancient trade routes. Very cool. 
  • The Infinity Pool at the ship's aft was pretty spectacular. Though small, it affords you an unobstructed view of the surroundings, like the cliffside villages of Santorini. 
  • The stylish and light-filled Wintergarden offers high tea and biscuits at 4 pm daily.
  • Some nights the nightclub, Torshavn, attracted a dozen or so slow dancers and slow drinkers, with a live cover band. Other nights it was packed during a schmaltzy, lively performance of "The Rat Pack." 
  • The Spa, run by LivNordic, a Sweden-based company (a nice change from the Steiner spas found on most cruise ships), was a highlight. Some guests seemed unaware that the spa room — including the pool, whirlpool, sauna, ice water bucket and the first snow room at sea — is complimentary, and there was no pitch to buy surcharge services like massages and facials. 
  • The movies "American Sniper" and "Jersey Boys" were among the Hollywood fare that played in the Star Theater and on the big screen above the pool.  Star Theater was also the venue for some diverting musical productions.
The infinity pool on Viking Star looks out over Dubrovnik, Croatia.
JD Lasica / Special to CruiseableThe infinity pool on Viking Star looks out over Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Dining

There were enough options on our sailing to please foodies, both on the ship and on land, and we loved staying out for dinner in Istanbul, Athens and Kotor — plus all those lunches in port. We also took advantage of the complimentary 24-hour room service in our stateroom. And while Viking Star offered multiple choices for al fresco dining, we didn't see anyone brave the November climes and venture outdoors for breakfast or dinner during our sailing. In warmer weather, the Aquavit Terrace at the aft of the ship looks splendid.

Notably, all of our meals were included in the base fare. Two of the dining venues would qualify as specialty restaurants, with a surcharge, on other ships. 

The Restaurant

The Restaurant, the mainstay dining venue on the ship, serves standard Continental and American fare with added splashes of regional specialties. (And check out the photo of the creepy-cool moving characters, straight out of a Harry Potter movie, at the entrance.) During breakfast and lunch I loved the floor-to-ceiling windows that offered an al fresco ambience. 

It's apparent the dining staff is still working hard to find its groove. On our first night, I made the poor choice of ordering the lobster, which proved to be dull and unappetizing — though that may be due to my years on the Left Coast dining on fresh lobster, which most cruise ships can't regularly snare.

Our second dinner at The Restaurant proved more rewarding, with a nice Beef Wellington and lump crab salad, and we struck up a conversation with a couple from Missouri next to us. (Seating, with an adjoining table a foot away, was such that you could decide to be social or keep your conversation contained.) Service, though earnest, was hurried. At one point my Sauvignon Blanc was refilled with the house wine; at another point, a waitress cleared our silverware and glasses, even though the main course had not yet arrived. 

Viking Star features six restaurants, including Manfredi's Italian Restaurant.
Courtesy of Viking CruisesViking Star features six restaurants, including Manfredi's Italian Restaurant.

World Café & Pool Grill

We wound up having dinner most nights at the World Café, given its informal vibe and wide-ranging variety of global cuisines and regional specialties. Have sushi, or a Scandinavian dish, or pizza, or that odd-looking Asian delicacy that you have to ask the name of. Cappuccino and espresso drinks are also available, gratis. 

In the mood for a burger or salad? Head right outside the World Cafe's doors to the Pool Grill next to the ship's main pool.

Manfredi’s Italian Grill

We were impressed by our lone meal at Manfredi’s Italian Grill, and should have arranged a second dinner reservation. The restaurant offers a range of Tuscan and Roman dishes, but one of the best meals of the voyage was a succulent, finely seasoned rib-eye steak paired with a nice Bordeaux. (Just don't ask for a Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines are Euro-centric.) 

Chef's Table & Kitchen Table

Mamsen's is a café on Viking Star that features Scandinavian fare.
Courtesy of Viking CruisesMamsen's is a café on Viking Star that features Scandinavian fare.

Our most memorable meal came at The Chef's Table, where we lingered over a five-course dinner in a cozy, hushed room. The Chefs Table features theme dinners, and ours was "La Route Des Indes," with an emphasis on fresh regional spices. Our courses included Carrot and Cardamom Cream, with star anise; Spicy Tuna Tataki, with coriander and peppercorns; Ginger and Tarragon granita; Beef Tenderloin with paprika, cumin, coriander and cinnamon, and an apple tarte for dessert with butterscotch calvados sauce. Each course was exquisite.

We didn't pony up the extra $299 per person for dinner at The Kitchen Table, where a handful of guests accompany the chef into a market to select fresh, local ingredients to prepare for their dinner, held in a spartan room resembling a test kitchen. It's done once per cruise.

Mamsen's

After a few days, we discovered Mamsen's on deck 7 forward in the Explorers' Lounge, and we knew we had found our breakfast spot. I loved the Norwegian waffles served with fresh fruit and berries (hold the cream) while taking in the view of the sea or a new port. Oatmeal, pastries and other fare are also on tap. It’s also open for lunch and after-dinner snacking. Mamsen's, inspired by the recipes of Viking founder Torstein Hagen's mother, remained a hidden gem throughout the voyage, never crowded and always mellow.

Consider an upgrade to a Penthouse Junior Suite on Viking Star, especially if you're looking to take a longer cruise.
Courtesy of Viking CruisesConsider an upgrade to a Penthouse Junior Suite on Viking Star, especially if you're looking to take a longer cruise.

Staterooms

Viking Star features 14 Explorer Suites, which are two-room suites ranging from 757 to 1,163 square feet that offer sweeping views from wrap-around private verandas as well as additional amenities.All staterooms on Viking Star have their own private veranda (yes!). Guests can choose from five stateroom categories, starting from a 270-square-foot veranda stateroom. All staterooms come with king-size beds (convertible to doubles), roomy showers, robes, slippers, toiletries, a hair dryer and a safe.

We had a Deluxe Veranda (also 270 square feet) with a modest balcony, typical bed and a desk where I began writing this review. The complimentary movies on demand and TV stations (Fox, MSNBC, Sky News) on the 42-inch flat screen LCD TV were a nice touch, plus you could check the monitor to see the state of your bill. We also appreciated the fact that the loudspeaker system was used sparingly and the announcements weren't blaring.

Dress code

During the day, guests wear casual attire. At night you'll see more sport coats and dresses. There are no formal nights on Viking Star. 

Sustainable features

Designed with the environment in mind, Viking Star features energy-efficient hybrid engines, hydro-dynamically optimized streamlined hulls and bows for maximum fuel efficiency, onboard solar panels and equipment that minimizes exhaust pollution and meets the strictest environmental regulations.

Internet on board

First, the good news: Wi-fi is available throughout the ship, including your stateroom, and it’s free. Now, the bad news: Her VSAT satellite connection is woefully slow. In Istanbul I measured a download speed of 0.91 megabits per second and 0.44 mbps up. Sailing out of Ephesus, 0.31 mbps down, 0.04 mbps up. In Kotor, 0.73 mbps down, 0.24 up.

Translation: It took 20 minutes to upload a 15-second video to Instagram. Not the end of the world, but if you’re a techie like me, or a member of the always-on generation who likes to share experiences during a voyage, you may want to look for an Internet cafe in port and resign yourself to kicking back on board. 

Disclosure

J.D. Lasica sailed on Viking Star, along with two other members of the press, as a guest of Viking Ocean Cruises. See Cruiseable's Ethics & disclosure policy. 

Your take

Have you cruised on Viking Star? What was the highlight? I'd love to hear about your own experience in the comments below.

Help improve this article. See anything wrong? What did I overlook? Be a co-creator!

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JD Lasica
I'm co-founder, Editor and chief cat herder at Cruiseable. Follow your cruise bliss to any land where it may lead. Let's connect! I'm @jdlasica on Twitter.

Top highlights on this ship

  • What: Wintergarden
  • Where: Deck 7

  • What: Shore excursions
  • Where: Pula, Croatia

  • What: Scenery
  • Where: Bergen, Norway
  • Understated elegance and modern Scandinavian design
  • Two pool choices featuring a main pool with a retractable dome and a glass-backed infinity pool
  • Top-flight shore excursions to fascinating destinations (included in your fare)
  • Attentive, courteous and genuinely friendly service from the crew.

Top dining options on board

Manfredi's

  • Style: Italian cuisine
  • No additional cost
  • Open: Dinner

Mamsen's

  • Style: Scandinavian
  • No additional cost
  • Open: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Aquavit Terrace

  • Style: Buffet
  • No additional cost
  • Open: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Editor & community ratings

Cruiseable editors
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Value for the money:
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Fast facts

930 Passengers [?]
550 Crew
14 Decks
2015 Maiden voyage
47,800 Tonnage [?]
745 Length in feet
95 Width in feet (max beam)
23 mph [?]

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