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Preliminary Scorecard: Viking Star In The Caribbean


Moving along to Antigua, we stopped in St. John’s for a day of touring.  On board Viking Star, travelers are settling into life in the Caribbean, the Viking Ocean Cruises version.  In advance of sailing we highlighted all parts of the Viking Ocean Cruise experience.  Special attention was given to specific Caribbean-friendly hardware features of 930-guest Viking Star as well as onboard programming, crew and fellow travelers. At the halfway point in our New York to the West Indies sailing, it’s time for a preliminary scorecard.   Actually we’re going to make that a multiple part scorecard, released throughout the day.

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Viking Star is fitting into the Caribbean, those same features that brought the 2015 Best New Ship Of The Year award are working well here too.  The size of Viking Star is a solid win for Caribbean cruise travelers.

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Viking Star Ship Features- Docking And Moving People
We are able to dock at smaller facilities, away from larger ships in port and the associated large number of guests on board.  We don’t get to do that all the time though.  In San Juan we were docked next to Carnival Glory and Carnival Magic.  That made already tight sidewalks overrun with cruise passengers right around the ship dock.  In St Johns, Viking Star was not quite small enough to fit into the smaller boatyard area where we had docked on smaller Royal Clipper.

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Already known from our previous In The Wake Of Vikings sailings before this, tender operations are (a word I have never said before about tender operations): flawless.    There are times when rough weather would cancel tender operations on most cruise lines, in an abundance of caution.   Viking tenders a higher percentage of total guests off the ship than other lines. Remember, everyone has an included tour and the tours are good. More on tours later.

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Always A Little More
In Greenland, sea conditions were rougher than normal but hearty Viking seamen managed to get all but two tour groups off the ship.  Another line would have cancelled that call.  But that’s very much a part of the Viking Ocean Cruises way of doing business.  Rather fearless. When we last sailed Viking’s Empires of the Mediterranean itinerary, Viking Sea was the last ship to see the history-rich city of Istanbul in Turkey. Other lines had left the area several weeks prior.  It’s a spirit of adventure that goes beyond one of those things travel companies say they are… but you don’t really expect exactly that.  Alaska advertising with fabulous photos of wild animals I have never seen there comes to mind.

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This also speaks to the ‘always a little more’ element of Viking that seems to be a rather subtle one by design. I first noticed this phenomenon on the Viking River Cruises fleet of Viking Longships.  Bathroom mirrors as well as floors are heated.  The floors just feel good to walk on.  That the mirror is not fogged over after a shower is a nice touch…and one not advertised.  That has happened here as well. Silver Spirits is a good example of this.

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Caribbean Value Silver Spirits Program
In anticipation of the Caribbean program, we noted the high value of Viking’s Silver Spirits Plan at $19.99 per person per day. Astounding.  Now it’s better.  Starting with our sailing, the program bumped included spirits from all those up to $9.00 each to all those up to $15.00 each.  That puts the Grey Goose back in the martini.

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On the topic of beverages, this one I will hold until the end except to say that this was going to be one of the more difficult parts of the overall Viking experience enjoyed on river ships and on this ship in other parts of the world:  There are really not very many local vineyards in the Caribbean to throw into the dining rotation, especially compared to the vineyard-lined rivers of Europe.

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Somewhat popular seem to be frozen drinks… but just somewhat.  This is where the inclusive element of beer and wine served during generous meal times comes into play as well as the insanely low priced Silver Spirit’s Plan. Think about it: If you could choose from nearly all possible choices from the bar service, would it be a Pina Colada?  Maybe but it would be a very fine one, not made with well brands on other ships.  And the well brands on other ships are not as good…so there is that understated Viking theme again: make the core experience a solid platform from which to launch interesting additions.  That foundation allows great flexibility in additional layers of the onboard experiences that are added, modified, enriched, improved or replaced.

That’s next as well as info on our tour of Antigua and the entire off ship experience.

 

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Follow Along On Our Viking Ocean Cruises West Indies Explorer sailing:

Viking Ocean Cruises In The Caribbean

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Viking Caribbean: Pre-Cruise Countdown

  1. Coming Up: Viking West Indies Explorer, Epic Invasion
  2. Viking Cruises Caribbean: Island Connected Dining Like Never Before
  3. Viking Cruises Caribbean: Panoramic Island Hopping\
  4. Viking Cruises West Indies Explorer Countdown
  5. Viking Caribbean Shoreside Focus Different, Included
  6. Thinkable World Of Viking To Meet The Caribbean
  7. In The Viking Caribbean, No Smuggling Skills Needed, Door Wide Open
  8. Uniquely Different Viking Ocean Cruises: Specific Features That Caribbean Travel Will Like 
  9. Follow Viking Star In Real Time Satellite View
  10. Flexibility Enables Surprise Viking Exploration, Again
  11. Coming To North America: Our Viking Adventure Begins 
  12. Viking Introduces Previously Ignored Caribbean 
  13. Viking Welcome Home: It Can Happen Anywhere
  14. Exploring Iceland Like Vikings: Thoughtfully
  15. Vikings Explore Prince Christian Sound, Very Carefully
  16. Spectacular Travel Moments With Viking Ocean Cruises
  17. Interesting Viking Tour Brings Global View In Very Simple Terms 
  18. Viking Star Passes Ultimate Cruise Traveler Test
  19. Viking Caribbean: Something New For Someone New
  20. Aggressive Repositioning Itinerary Highlights Viking Commitment To Travelers
  21. Thoughtful Canadian Port Choice Typical Of Viking Destination Focus 
  22. Features Not Part Of The Viking Caribbean Experience
  23. Viking Star Caribbean Dining: New Cuisine For Cruise Travelers
  24. Actually, Viking Star Is Designed For Caribbean Cruising
  25. Incomparable Viking Star
  26. Viking Star Base Features To Elevate Caribbean Cruise Experience
  27. In The Wake Of Vikings [PHOTOS] 
  28. Viking Caribbean Preview: Your Questions Answered
  29. Viking Caribbean Preview: More Of Your Questions Answered
  30. Reader Question Highlights Viking Attention To Detail 
  31. Slideshow: Favorite Viking Star Features I Can’t Wait To See
  32. Viking World Cruise: I Could Do That
  33. Viking Star Arrives In New York City  

Flickr photo albums

  1. A Day In Reykjavik, Iceland
  2. Icelandic Air
  3. In The Steps Of Vikings: Cruising Prince Christian Sound
  4. Nanortalik, Greenland
  5. Qaqortoq, Greenland
  6. Viking Star Penthouse Verandah Staterooms
  7. Viking Star Ship Shots
  8. Viking Star At Sea
  9. Northern Lights
  10. Viking Star Culinary: Mamsens
  11. Viking Star Nordic Spa
  12. Viking Star Living Room Bar
  13. Viking Star Culinary Sampling
  14. Viking Star Explorer’s Lounge
  15. Viking Star Pool Grill
  16. Viking Star Past Guest Party
  17. Viking Star Living Room
  18. Saguenay, Quebec, Canada
  19. Viking Star Infinity Pool
  20. Sailing To Canada On Viking Star
  21. Viking Star Top Deck Spaces
  22. Viking Star Aquavit Bar
  23. Viking Star Crew
  24. Viking Star Main Pool Area
  25. Greenland From The Deck Of Viking Star
  26. Viking Documentation
  27. Al Fresco Seating Areas

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