Viking: San Juan the place to start

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The Viking Star docks at Pier 4 in San Juan. The ship will operate out of there through Feb. 25 when it starts a 15-day trip that will end in Barcelona.
The Viking Star docks at Pier 4 in San Juan. The ship will operate out of there through Feb. 25 when it starts a 15-day trip that will end in Barcelona. Photo Credit: Tom Steighorst

Viking Cruises began a series of 10- and 11-day Caribbean voyages from San Juan in October, choosing the Puerto Rican departure point for its quick access to destinations that are a haul from South Florida.

"If you start in Miami, then you have two days before you get anywhere," Viking chairman Torstein Hagen said aboard the Viking Star on the way down to San Juan from New York.

"You have two days doing nothing on the sea going down and two days doing nothing coming up," Hagen said. "For those who have to fly anyway to Miami, why not just fly to San Juan and be in the middle of it when you start your Caribbean cruise?"

Viking's itineraries hit some of the region's less-visited destinations, such as Tortola, Guadeloupe, St. Lucia, Barbados and St. Kitts and Nevis.

"I think we've covered the most interesting places in the Caribbean," Hagen said.

The Viking Star will be in San Juan through Feb. 25 when it embarks on a 15-day trip to Europe ending in Barcelona.

In an interview, Hagen said Caribbean sales are looking good.

"Bookings for the Caribbean come a bit later than they do for Europe, but I think the itinerary we have is very good. I think we're a bit different, particularly for New Yorkers and the like," he said.

"It is a useful thing to have because many of our guests would like to have some sun during the winter," Hagen said. "I think what we offer is, our guests can come with their spouses, and they can have a quiet time."

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