LOS ANGELES - Viking Ocean Cruises announced that its founder and chairman, Torstein Hagen, has commemorated the arrival of the company's new ship, Viking Sea, in five new Norwegian ports of call. A Norwegian native, Hagen celebrated his family's heritage during the traditional maritime plaque ceremonies attended by local officials, harbor masters, directors of tourism, and mayors. During his time in Norway, Hagen participated in optional shore excursions available to Viking guests, including visiting the northernmost brewery in Tromso and eating freshly caught King Crab near Honningsvag; he also went fishing for lunch in Bodo. This is the first time Viking has sailed into these ports in Northern Norway, along with Bronnoysund and Alesund, all of which are part of the company's new Into the Midnight Sun itinerary that cruises between London and Bergen.
During his visit, Hagen and Viking Sea's captain, Gulleik Svalastog, presented commemorative plaques, guided tours of Viking Sea, and discussed how Viking can help support the tourism industry through its sailings in Norway and its destination-focused approach to cruise itineraries. The participating mayors, who also spoke about their respective tourism initiatives, included: Mayor of Tromso, Mr. Jarle Aarbakke; Mayor of Nordkapp, Ms. Kristina Sigurdsdottir Hansen; Mayor of Bronnoysund, Mr. Johnny Hanssen; and in Bodo, Mayor Ms. Ida Maria Pinnerod and Port Director, Ingvar Mathisen.
Addressing repeat Viking travelers at a Viking Explorer Society cocktail party Hagen stated, "Sir Richard Branson says space is Virgin territory. I say Scandinavia is Viking territory. No other cruise line can show you this part of the world like Viking can. I have known for years that there is nothing better than Norway in the summer, and I am happy to now be able to share the beauty of my native Norway with you, our Viking guests."
Christened in May, Viking's second ship, Viking Sea, was recently awarded the highest-available editor rating of five stars by Cruise Critic, marking the second consecutive five-star rating for the company's expanding ocean fleet. Classified by Cruise Critic as "small ships," Viking's ocean fleet of 930-passenger sister ships are well-suited for Scandinavian and Baltic itineraries – their size allows for privileged access to smaller ports, getting guests closer to their destinations.
Scandinavian design and heritage are central to the Viking brand and are in the details and understated elegance onboard the new ocean ships. Clean lines, woven textiles and light wood evoke the Viking spirit of discovery and connection to the natural world. Features include:
- Explorers' Lounge – In the two-deck Explorers' Lounge at the bow of the ship, the decor was inspired by ancient Viking trade routes and navigation methods - imagery of star constellations and astronomical maps are complemented by antique globes, astrolabes and sofas with cozy pelts.
- 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.
- Wintergarden - Guests looking for serenity will find it in the Wintergarden. In this elegant space under a canopy of Scandinavian-inspired trellised wood, guests can indulge in afternoon tea service.
- Dining Choices – Viking's ocean ships offer multiple restaurant locations and food choices-including The Chef's Table, which offers a multi-course tasting menu with wine pairings and a new Scandinavian Bistro menu in its rotation, and Mamsen's, which serves Norwegian deli-style fare based on the recipes of Hagen's mother, Ragnhild, otherwise known as "Mamsen."
- Scandinavian Art – Guests onboard Viking's ocean ships enjoy an original art collection that showcases a diverse group of Scandinavian artists, many of whom are Norwegian, and a variety of mediums and approaches. The collection is based on the idea of "The Traveler as The Collector," just as the Vikings once were and other explorers have been. Artists represented in the collection include Edvard Munch, H.M. Queen Sonja of Norway, Jakob Weidemann and many others.
- Viking Exhibition – Located on Deck 2, Viking's ocean ships feature a Viking Heritage Exhibit that contains artifacts and information about the lives and exploration of early Vikings.
- Onboard Boutique – Redesigned for the launch of Viking Sea, the onboard boutique features a curated selection of Scandinavian products, including clothing from Norwegian brands Helly Hansen, Oleana, and Dale of Norway.
The 15-day Into the Midnight Sun itinerary provides an in-depth exploration, from the northernmost reaches of Norway to the remote outposts of Scotland's Shetland and Orkney Islands. The itinerary also visits Edinburgh, London and the Hanseatic League city of Bergen. For an up-close look at the Into the Midnight Sun itinerary, visit the Viking Ocean Cruises YouTube channel.