Porthole Cruise MagazineAugust 2020

In a land far, far away — from Porthole HQ, at least — lies the Down Under continent of Australia, flanked on the southeast by New Zealand and the petite island paradise of Fiji to the northeast. A marathon flight to these far-flung destinations may require diligent planning, but there is nothing more rewarding than scheduling an indulgent multi-segment cruise or two (or even three).

Orion Shines Bright

LIKE ITS CELESTIAL NAMESAKE, VIKING ORION’S stellar design elements shimmer in discreet sophistication, tastefully influenced by a sleek Scandinavian aesthetic. Viking Cruises has parlayed its well-deserved, award-winning legacy in river cruising into acclaimed ocean cruises with a fleet of six nearly identical, smaller, all-veranda ships plying the seven seas in upscale style with amenities rarely included on similar vessels.

A 15-day journey to the South Sea destinations of Australia and New Zealand begins with two days of exploring the treasures of Sydney via a complimentary city highlights tour or alternatively day-tripping to the mesmerizing Blue Mountains. Sailing out of the stunning harbor with the iconic Sydney Opera House as a backdrop, the ship journeys southward with a day spent at sea savoring the elegance of dazzling public spaces and a program of inspiring enrichment programs.

The multipurpose Star Theater serves as a venue for TED talks, seminars, and special entertainment, while Torshavn is a club-like nightspot replicating the vibe of a swinging jazz lounge with nightly musical entertainment. For those that seek solace with a good book or easy listening music, The Atrium and The Viking Living Room are ideal settings to kick back in comfort surrounded by Viking nautical touches. Explorers’ Lounge, overlooking the bow, is more reminiscent of a tastefully decorated living room than a typical ship lounge and is home to sweeping views of the ocean and the Explorers’ Dome with 3D cinematic presentations.

Day 4 finds the city of Melbourne sporting vintage Victorian facades sandwiched amongst towering skyscrapers. Excursions encourage wildlife encounters with cuddly koalas, wallabies, kangaroos, and wombats. If travel by a vintage steam train holds appeal, riding the rails into the villages of the Dandenong Ranges supplies a hint of nostalgia.

The next leg of the cruise features a sea day intermission honing in on the culinary chops of the vessel’s creative chefs in an assortment of venues. The Restaurant offers refined, open-seating dining in an inviting glass-walled environment; the duplicated menu can be enjoyed in a casual buffet-style setting in World Café. Complimentary specialty-dining options add to menu diversity, with Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant featuring freshly prepared pastas, seafood, steaks, and regional dishes that kindle the romance of Tuscany. Five-course gastronomical journeys paired with regional wines rotate throughout the cruise at The Chef ’s Table, and the deli-like Mamsen’s serves light-bite Nordic specialties.

Arrival in Hobart, Tasmania, with its picturesque setting on the River Derwent, serves up a slate of activities exposing every element of the fabled penal colony with remarkably preserved sandstone architecture and traditional pubs adding to the charm. Leaving Australia behind, the vessel sets course for the shores of New Zealand with a two-day crossing of the Tasman Sea adding personal time for pampering.

The essence of Scandinavian well-being is facilitated by complimentary admission into the serene sanctuary of The Spa. Bask in the soothing warmth of the dry sauna or steam room, followed by an invigorating entrance into a snow grotto or ice-cold plunge pool, furthering euphoria with an extended soak in the thermal pool. Trained LivNordic technicians provide opportunities to rejuvenate the body with a full range of massages, facials, and detoxifying treatments.

Located mid-ship, the dazzling Main Pool, with its retractable roof, is a calm oasis that in the evening transforms into an open-air movie theater. The adjacent Wintergarden, ensconced in an intricate wooden honeycomb lattice, is a prominent design centerpiece that hosts the daily ritual of teatime. The conveniently positioned Infinity Pool at the aft of the ship is a natural Instagram photo target.


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August 2020