The Viking Star is a new ship. As in, I’m guessing we’ll be only the third or fourth set of passengers to ever enjoy the waves in our reserved cabin (fifth floor, starboard side, Deluxe Veranda 3 classification, to be precise). That’s pretty special—but if Mom and I hadn’t been so lucky, we’d have been booking our trip for 2016 instead of embarking in Stockholm on May 30 of this year.
We’d heard about the Star on our Viking River Cruise last year. We’d seen glossy marketing photos and artist’s renditions of how this classy Scandinavian-pedigree ship was to look. But we also heard that the cruises were completely booked for the first year.
Mom laughed that, at her age, she wasn’t planning on even buying green bananas; booking a cruise two years’ away didn’t seem too smart. So we browsed through the brochures and figured we’d give a pass to the Viking Star.
But Mom, being an active, healthy lady, found herself in January thinking a cruise with Viking might be pretty fine for 2015. “Do you think they have any openings for the Viking Star this year?” she asked me during one of our almost-daily long-distance phone calls. “I’ve always wanted to see the fjords of Norway.”
‘Nuff said—I was on the Internet in a few moments, contacting Viking directly. Nope; nothing there. Hmmmm…I tried Costco, whom we’d booked our 2014 river cruise with. Costco doesn’t handle Viking Oceans—at least not yet.
I headed over to CruiseCritic.com to check the forums. Everything did seem to be sold out for 2015. But Mom taught me persistence and she taught me well; I searched out a handful of travel agencies specializing in cruises. I emailed each asking about any openings for the “Viking Homelands” itinerary (the one with Mom’s desired fjords) in 2015.
My email inbox was quiet (well, at least from travel agents!) for four days, then, kaboom, we got an answer: An agent had found us slot on the July 11th itinerary. Yahoo!
Then I read the details.
“The only stateroom available is an Owner’s Suite which I have a tentative hold on for you,” wrote the travel agent. A PDF was attached with the temporary booking.
(Warning: Unless you’re the kind who has a platinum credit card—the real metal platinum kind, not the plastic grey one—you may want to sit down at this point in the story or you’ll likely fall over)
Ummmm…no, I don’t think we’ll be enjoying the Owner’s Suite any time soon. Or really at all. I mean, it looks pretty spiffy, but that’s more than the first home Mom and Dad bought. For just one of us!
I explained to the agent that we wouldn’t be able to handle that much Viking delight; she said she entirely understood and hadn’t thought it would work out.
On February 5, we heard from Carol at Cruise Specialists. What type of cabin were we looking for? I quickly averred that an Owner’s Suite was a little rich for our tastes. Carol returned with a Deluxe Veranda 3 stateroom for the May 30 departure from Stockholm. Did we want it?
I could hear the smile in Mom’s voice as we talked on the phone. And we booked the cabin that day.
Aren’t we lucky to get on the Viking Star less than five months from embarkation? I’d say so! But if you’re interested in this ship, I wouldn’t advise waiting as long as we did to make your plans.
P.S. And talk about lucky: I’m the fortunate one to have a travel buddy like Mom to adventure with. No cathedral tower staircase is too tall for this lady, no food too off-putting (well, except for raw fish) and no hour too late to enjoy aboard-ship live music and dancing. Thanks, Mom, for a new trip to make memories with you!