Viking Ocean Cruises newest ship Viking Sky is now sailing – so how does it compare to the other ships in the fleet? Cruise International  Editor Liz Jarvis is on board for a first look

At first glance Viking Sky appears to be a carbon copy of its sister cruise ships in the Viking Ocean Cruises fleet, Viking Star and Viking Sea. The same soothing Scandi-inspired interiors, Nordic design accents – how we love those stylish cushions and throws – and clever use of glass and blonde wood to maximise the feeling of light and space.

But there are some subtle and pleasing design changes on Viking Sky, in response to guest demand.

For a start, the very large beauty salon has been scaled down on Viking Sky, and the resulting extra space now houses an impressive, light-filled gym.

On the top deck, the outdoor gym equipment seen on the other two ships has been replaced with comfortable seating and foliage decor, creating more havens for sea days or evening drinks.

And in the Explorer’s Lounge, the bar has been named ‘Pop’s’, a reference to the Viking Cruises CEO and Chairman Torstein Hagen.

Meanwhile the specially curated art collection includes impressive ceramics and works by established as well as up-and-coming artists, many of whom are Norwegian.

These are small but effective enhancements that give Viking Sky something a little extra, making it a serious contender for Best New Ship this year.

But the core elements that make Viking Ocean Cruises a serious contender in the luxury cruise market – free wifi, superb included speciality dining (or ‘alternative restaurants’ as Viking likes to call them), included excursions, excellent entertainment, enrichment lectures and above all the crew, surely one of the happiest teams at sea, remains the same. It will be interesting to see if there are further enhancements when the fourth ship in the fleet, Viking Sun, launches in June.

For more information on Viking Sky visit vikingcruises.co.uk.