My first impression walking onto Viking Sea in Barbados was quite simply wow! Is this the most stylish cruise ship? Quite possibly.
The line’s owner, Torstein Hagen, has been quoted to say the fleet of ships are designed for “function, comfort and understated elegance”. Well, it’s tens across the board for me. Viking’s aesthetic draws upon contemporary Scandinavian design. Everywhere you’ll see a rich, yet simple tapestry of materials, fabrics and designs.
Upon entering the ship you’ll find yourself in the Living Room, the atrium at the heart of the ship. Here in this three-storey space you’ll find things like guest services, as well as a cute bar and ample of seating. Throughout the day events such as live music takes place in the atrium. The centrepiece of this space is the grand staircase which leads you up to a large screen that shows various iconic Norwegian images. For me however the real star is below the stairs. As you walk up you’ll see a mosaic of moss, stone and other materials that peak out from under your feet which grounds the entire space, linking it all back to nature.
Light has been an important part of designing this ship. Wherever you go light streams in from windows, making it feel airy while strengthening the connection with the sea – after all you are on a ship. From all I’ve said so far you may say the ship could feel quite bland and soulless, but it is quite the opposite. The mixture of blond woods and other materials makes it feel homely, yet sophisticated and chic – no more so than in the gorgeous Winter Garden (shown below). Yet Viking has not be one to shy away from a bit of colour, jump in a lift and you are (literally) hit by walls of orange – I love it.
One thing you’ll not see on board are things like casinos or photo galleries. Viking have been very vocal that they do not want to include for-fee products on board, which is why you don’t pay for things like speciality (or alternative) dining on board, or for Wi-Fi. I found this really refreshing. The exception to this rule is spa treatments, but I’ll cover that in another blog.
Not to forget its heritage, Viking ships also feature a small gallery displaying a range of Viking artefacts. It’s a great little space to spend some time looking at Viking history. The more you look the more you can see how these items have directly influenced the design and décor of the ship.
A fun fact I learnt on board. Whilst travelling in the atrium lifts you’ll see a picture of a forest. Look closer and you’ll see trolls hiding amongst the trees. These are various members of staff from across Viking.
I think it is the attention to detail that really stands out. Travelling upstairs, nowhere is this more apparent than the Explorers Lounge, found at the top of the ship overlooking the bow. This expansive space is great for enjoying a cocktail as you sail to your next port while watching the sun set. On the lower level you’ll find plenty of cosy seating, live music and Pops, a great bar that serves up some rather delicious cocktails. Upstairs is the real gem though! Here you’ll find some grander seating that is flanked by big models of ships, zeppelins, and walls of curated books by explorers. Everywhere you look there are curios to investigate. By far my favourite feature is the warm glowing fireplace (don’t worry it’s actually water vapour, but looks so real).
No space is wasted on this ship. If you’re a lover of nooks and crannies, like me, then this is a great place to get lost with a good book one afternoon. This is put simply clever design. For instance, the theatre at the front of the ship is quite modest in comparison to most lines, however, it’s been designed as a modular space where the ships two adjoining cinemas integrate with the theatre at busy times, providing additional seating. In the theatre you’ll find a variety of activities such as small theatre productions, 3D-movies and a variety of talks.
I’ve perhaps left the best until last, the pool deck, including the ship’s signature feature, the infinity pool. I’ll be covering this in a later blog about the spa and fitness facilities on board.
All-in-all, if I could please transplant everything from the ship into my house I’d be a very happy person. Who can I write to?
To see my blog series on my Viking adventure go here. Watch this space for a future YouTube tour of the ship where I’ll explore these places in more detail!
For more info about Viking please go here.