My wife and I joined Viking Ocean Cruises new ship, Viking Star, in Barcelona for a 7 day cruise to Rome.
Flights were by British Airways scheduled service and, typical of Viking’s famed organisation, they had a representative at the luggage carousel at Barcelona Airport identifying guests even before the luggage appeared.
Transfer to the ship was quick and efficient and we were greeted on arrival with a glass of Champagne. We were immediately impressed with Viking Star’s light, contemporary and airy aesthetic decor: and the feeling of openness that the ship’s interior engenders.
It was an immediate bonus to find our stateroom ready for occupancy. We had booked a Deluxe Veranda stateroom on 4 Deck and once settled in we proceeded to the Aquavit Terrace where lunch was being served.
The Aquavit Terrace, at the rear of the ship, is an extension of the World Cafe, Viking Star’s buffet restaurant. One was immediately impressed that despite the ‘buffet’ nature of the restaurant, all tables were full laid including linen napkins and cutlery.
Like it’s river cruising cousin, Viking Ocean Cruises offer inclusive beverages, alcoholic and non-alcoholic, with lunch and dinner and so with nothing planned for that afternoon bar unpacking and a little exploring of the ship, we enjoyed an extended and relaxed lunch under the Spanish sun.
Exploring Viking Star later in the afternoon almost became an adventure. While the general deck layout is not too dissimilar to other ‘smaller’ cruise ships we have travelled on, there was definitely something different – a kind of ocean going ‘je ne sais qui’.
Open areas appear to be sub divided into domains where each domain has a colour and theme all of its own. The lower floor of the three deck atrium is known as the ‘Living Room’, sofas and soft chairs with furry pelts draped across them, an open plan reception area unlike anything seen before and central at the bottom of a wide staircase, a grand piano.
This really is different.
Our first dinner was taken in Viking Star’s main restaurant, simply named, The Restaurant. Dining here is on an ‘open seating’ basis and guests can request a table size on arrival. We opted for a pre-dinner drink in the Explorers Lounge and headed for the restaurant at 7.30 pm.
On entering the restaurant we were somewhat surprised not to just find it pretty well full but also that most diners were on their final dinner course.
We had an enjoyable dinner, there were plenty of choices and once again all wines and drinks were complimentary.
We had decided to watch the show that evening in the ‘Star Theatre’. This proved an excellent choice. Viking Cruises had arranged a performance of Rumba Catalana: a traditional style of music developed by Barcelona’s gypsy community. Its rhythms are derived from flamenco with Cuban and rock and roll influences and is now very popular around Barcelona.
An excellent first night show and following our early start this morning, and an excursion tomorrow followed by some free time in Barcelona, we called it a day.