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Television journalist Anne Diamond became godmother to Viking’s latest cruise ship at a christening that marked the company’s return to business after a 14-month pause due to Covid-19. The British broadcaster used a Viking-style axe to cut the ribbon that started the celebrations, which took place out at sea within sight of Portsmouth, its home port for eight initial Welcome Back voyages off the coast of England.
Viking is one of the first companies to restart cruises from the UK and has a fleet of six ocean ships, two expedition ships and 76 river vessels – all with an unmistakable Scandinavian style to reflect the company’s Norwegian heritage.
Viking Venus is virtually identical to its sister ships, with two more scheduled to be built in 2022.
The wow factor
Viking Venus’s understated luxurious style, with its blond wood interiors and beautifully crafted furniture, is the first thing to grab your attention.
The Winter Garden conservatory is possibly the ship’s loveliest space, but the indoor/outdoor pool under a retractable glass roof is superb, the infinity pool at the back of the ship is sublime and the Nordic spa is exceptional.
Discreetly luxurious, there are no loud areas on any Viking Cruises ships and the largely American, British and Australasian guests like it that way.
Virtually everything is included, from excursions and wifi to all restaurants except The Kitchen Table, where guests help with the cooking.
The social centrepoint is the Living Room, a lounge area with an aluminium-topped bar off the three-floor atrium, that’s more like a smart hotel than a ship.
Adults only, and with a maximum 930 passengers, the onboard experience is relaxing, with a cinema, theatre and Torshavn bar for jazz music and vintage cocktails.
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All cabins have balconies and all our spacious. They range from Veranda, Deluxe Veranda and Penthouse Veranda to Penthouse Junior Suite and the bigger Explorer Suites.
All come well equipped with king-size beds or twin beds, large shower rooms – plus baths in suites – and all the usual features such as TV, fridge, sofa, robes and slippers.
The bigger the cabin the more extras you get and the easier it is to book into the restaurants and onto the excursions of your choice – although all except The Kitchen Table are included for all categories.
The Restaurant is the main dining room and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a light and airy atmosphere with floor-to-ceiling windows so you’ve got a good view at all times.
There’s a self-service buffet, World Café, on deck 7 with inside and outside seating, while Manfredi’s is an Italian speciality restaurant and The Chef’s Table is for five-course tasting menus.
Waffles and Nordic open-sandwiches are available in Mamsen’s, there are burgers and hot sandwiches at the Pool Grill, coffee and snacks at Viking Bar and afternoon tea in the Wintergarden.
Room service is also free and available 24 hours a day, while The Kitchen Table is for foodies who pay to accompany the chef to a market in the morning then help with making the five-course meal at night.
England’s Scenic Shores itineraries are round-trips from Portsmouth calling at Liverpool, Isles of Scilly and Falmouth departing June 19 and 26, from £1,990pp, two sharing, including gratuities (vikingcruises.co.uk).
From July 1 the ship will be sailing the Mediterranean with round-trips from Valletta in Malta.
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