Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 25, 2016 (SKNIS)—The MS Viking Star, the lead ship of the Viking Star-class of cruise ships and the first such ship operated by Viking Ocean Cruises, a division of Viking Cruises, made its inaugural call at Port Zante, Basseterre, St. Kitts, on October 25, 2016.

Several officials from government visited the ship including Minister of Tourism, Honourable Lindsay Grant; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Mrs. Carlene Henry Morton; Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ian Queeley; National Disaster Coordinator at NEMA, Carl Herbert; Comptroller of Customs, Mr. Georid Belle; and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, Racquel Brown. Other officials included Executive Chairman of Delisle Walwyn Group of Companies, Mr. Clayton Perkins and Mr. Donald Cable, and personnel from St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA).

Rune Lokling, Captain of the Viking Star, shared his thoughts on the vessel’s inaugural call in St. Kitts.

“We have obviously arrived safely and soundly at this beautiful island of St. Kitts and this is our first port, this is our maiden call into this beautiful island and we’re actually going to be here twelve (12) times more, now until late February…The Viking Star was launched in May, 2015, so we are a brand new ocean going company and for the time being, we are the first one in a series of six ocean going ships,” Captain Lokling said.

Captain Lokling also announced that come 2017 for the new cruise season, the Viking Sea will take over when the Viking Star leaves, where it will make thirteen port of calls at Port Zante.

“As we grow, more ships will come by…and we are very pleased to be here. Thank you all for accepting us, and with our vessel with more than 900 guests on board and 470 crew members that would enjoy your beautiful island. Thank you very much on behalf of Viking Ocean Cruises and Viking Star and all my officers and crew,” said Captain Lokling.

The Honourable Lindsay Grant welcomed Captain Lokling and his team of officers and crew to St. Kitts.

“On behalf of my team and the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, I want to welcome you and I hope you have a long-lasting, fruitful and symbiotic relationship, profitable for you and profitable for us,” Minister Grant said.

“We want to thank you for those thirteen calls we would get this year and the thirteen that we will get next year. In fact, I have cruised and this is a beautiful ship and I know “Travel and Leisure” has voted you the number one cruise ship in the world. I know that you are specifically involved in river cruises and now you’ve ventured out in 2015 into this area of cruising and I must say you have chosen one of the best ports, not only in the Caribbean but in the cruising ports worldwide and I think your passengers are going to enjoy a wonderful day,” Minister Grant said.

“We do appreciate that your ship will stay here until 11 pm and so you’re not just coming and rushing back at 4 and 5 pm but you are savouring the beauty, the warmth and the friendliness of our people and I know that the passengers that you have come with are those passengers who like to immerse themselves in the history and the culture of the people and I believe St. Kitts and Nevis gives you a wealth of opportunity in that regard,” he added.

A mutual plaque exchange ceremony, which is the norm when a ship makes its inaugural port of call, ensued between Delisle Walwyn and Co. Ltd (port agents), the St. Kitts Tourism Authority and the Viking Star.

According to the website of the Viking Star, in her debut season she was awarded with the cruise industry’s highest honors, including being named Best New Ocean Ship and receiving a 5-star rating by the editors of Cruise Critic, receiving the highest rating in the mid-size ship category in Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2016, and being heralded by CNN as the “world’s best new cruise ship.”

The Viking Star is a comfortable, state-of-the-art ship, intimate and thoughtfully created to enrich your interaction with your destination in every way. Viking Star was designed with a unique on board experience in mind, from the serene Winter garden, perfect for a calming cup of tea; to The Spa, a Nordic sanctuary of wellness; to the Explorers’ Lounge, where you will discover picture-perfect views. All set in tasteful, understated elegance. And all designed to deliver a life-enriching experience that stays with you forever.