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Viking Ocean Cruises has announced that the line will expand its destination-focused cruising to North America and the Caribbean with five new itineraries launching in September 2016. As a nod to the most famous Viking explorer, Leif Eriksson, who set foot on North American soil 500 years before Columbus, Viking Star will also cross the North Atlantic – with a new itinerary that sails from Bergen to Montreal, with stops in the Shetland Islands, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland. From Montreal, the award-winning ship will cruise the St. Lawrence River and down the coast of New England to New York, during the peak period of fall foliage in October. Viking Star will then make her way down the Eastern seaboard to San Juan, Puerto Rico, which will serve as her homeport for winter Caribbean itineraries. The ship will return to Europe in February 2017, with a transatlantic sailing from San Juan to Barcelona.

Some highlights include:

  • NEW for 2016 – In the Wake of the Vikings (15 days; Bergen to Montreal) – Trace the route of Viking Leif Eriksson, setting off from his homeland, Norway, sailing from the old mercantile city of Bergen to the rustic Shetland Islands of Scotland the Faroe Islands, once home to the Viking Parliament. Witness the natural beauty of Iceland and Greenland; then, as Eriksson before you, land at Newfoundland, where L’Anse aux Meadows reveals evidence of Norse settlements. Sail on to Quebec, with explorations of Saguenay and Quebec City, before arriving in Montreal. Introductory 2-for-1 pricing starts at $6,499 per person.  Sailing Date: September 18, 2016.
  • NEW for 2016 – Eastern Seaboard Explorer (13 days; Montreal to New York) – Witness the shores of Canada and New England come alive with fall’s vibrant hues during this once-annual sailing. From cosmopolitan Montreal, cruise the St. Lawrence River to French-flavored Quebec City. Learn about Canada’s colonial past in
    Saguenay and about its Scottish and Acadian heritage on Prince Edward Island and in Halifax. An overnight in Boston gives you ample time to visit its historic treasures. Then, enjoy a rare crossing of the Cape Cod Canal en route to New York City, where you’ll experience the highlights of Manhattan. Introductory 2-for-1 pricing starts at $4,999 per person. Sailing Date: October 2, 2016.
  • NEW for 2016 – Eastern Seaboard to the West Indies (15 days; New York to San Juan) – Trace the Atlantic seaboard of the United States into the Caribbean, calling on an array of vibrant capitals and lush islands. An overnight in New York City lets you take in its dazzling sights. Then explore Newport’s grand mansions and Baltimore’s historic riches. Immerse yourself in colonial Jamestown from our port in Norfolk, and enjoy an overnight stay amid the coastal beauty of Port Everglades. Then explore the lush and lively Caribbean islands of Turks and Caicos, Antigua and St. Thomas. Introductory 2-for-1 pricing starts at $4,999 per person. Sailing Date: October 14, 2016.
  • NEW for 2017 – West Indies to Iberia (18 days; San Juan to Barcelona) – Embark in colonial San Juan, and call upon the Dutch side of St. Martin. Then, enjoy a leisurely six-day trans-Atlantic crossing, savoring the offerings onboard Viking Star. You’ll make landfall on the garden-draped Portuguese island of Madeira and
    visit the French-inflected Moroccan city of Casablanca before exploring Spain in Cádiz, Valencia and finally, Barcelona. Introductory 2-for-1 pricing starts at $3,299.  Sailing Date: February 25, 2017.

Christened in May 2015 in Bergen, Norway, the 930-guest all-veranda Viking Star – as well as her two sister ships under construction, Viking Sea (2016) and Viking Sky (2017) – is classified by Cruise Critic as a “small ship,” and is engineered at a scale that allows direct access into most ports, so guests have easy and efficient embarkation and disembarkation. Highlights onboard Viking Star include:

  • All Veranda Staterooms: Guests can choose from five stateroom categories, starting from a 270 sq. ft. Veranda Stateroom, all with private verandas and premium amenities that include king-size beds with luxury linens, large showers, luxury toiletries and large interactive flat-screen LCD TVs with movies-on-demand.
  • Explorer Suites: The ship features 14 Explorer Suites, which are two-room suites ranging from 757 to 1,163 sq. ft. that offer sweeping views from wraparound private verandas as well as the most amenities and privileges of any category onboard.
  • Two Pool Choices: In addition to the Main Pool with a retractable roof permitting any-season swimming, the ship features a first-of-its-kind glass-backed Infinity Pool cantilevered off the stern, allowing guests to swim surrounded by their destination.
  • LivNordic Spa: In keeping with Viking’s Nordic heritage, The Spa onboard is designed with the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia in mind—from the centuries-old tradition of the sauna to a Snow Grotto where snowflakes gently descend from the ceiling through chilled air. Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2016 named it one of the “5 best cruise ship spas.”
  • Explorers’ Lounge and Mamsen’s: Share a cocktail with friends. Linger over a Norwegian breakfast and a nautical history book. The Explorers’ Lounge and Mamsen’s gourmet deli are located at the bow and designed in the Scandinavian spirit.
  • Dining Choices: Viking Star offers multiple restaurant locations and food choices—from fine dining in The Restaurant, which serves three full meals and the widest choice of culinary options, and the World Café, which serves international fare and regional specialties—to intimate dining experiences at The Chef’s Table, which offers a multi-course tasting menu complete with wine parings, and Manfredi’s, which features freshly prepared pastas and Italian favorites. Additionally, The Kitchen Table focuses on regional dishes from market to table; the Pool Grill specializes in gourmet burgers; afternoon tea and scones are available in the Wintergarden; and Mamsen’s serves Norwegian deli-style fare. Furthermore, with multiple choices for outdoor seating during meals, Viking Star offers the most al fresco dining at sea.

Viking Inclusive Cruising includes  a veranda stateroom, shore excursions in each port of call, all onboard meals, and all port charges and government taxes. Guests also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including: beer and wine with lunch and dinner service; premium dining reservations; Wi-Fi; self-service laundry; access to the Thermal Suite in the LivNordic Spa; and 24-hour room service—a value of more than $2,400 per couple for an average cruise.

From now through December 31, 2015, Viking is offering U.S. residents a 2016 Early Booking Discount with up to $1,000 off 2-for-1 pricing on cruise departures, plus up to free all-inclusive airfare.

Viking Ocean Cruises, 855-8-VIKING, www.vikingoceancruises.com