Australia’s newest homeported ship, the Viking Orion, is making her way towards Sydney this week – and causing quite a stir among premium competitors.

The brand new small ship – she carries 930 passengers – is in Northern Queensland this morning.

She is part of the Viking Ocean fleet, which is just three years old but already marking itself out with fresh design and a strong value proposition.

While the fleet recently won awards for luxury on US travel sites, Viking insist they are not a luxury line. Instead, they prefer “deluxe”.

But their “no nickel and diming” catch cry, “no kids and no casinos” policy and pitch towards “adult cruisers” is resonating everywhere – and now will be tested in Australia. where the line has a new office and a highly experienced team.

Cruise Passenger has already been aboard the Orion on its cruise from Bangkok to Hong Kong – and found the ship an incredibly impressive upper premium vessel which will give the likes of Azamara, Celebrity and Oceania a run for their money.

The ship’s are uniquely Nordic – and offer great food, wine and beer with meals only and one included shore excursions in every port, making them strong on value.

Ms Michelle Black, managing director for the region and a former senior executive at Scenic, told Cruise Passenger: “We have had an overwhelming response from the Australian consumer – the demand for our product is high and has far exceeded our forecasted expectations for 2018 sales. We do not see this trend subsiding anytime soon!”

She told us Australians are jumping aboard for cruises in Northern Europe and Scandinavia and Asia and Canada.

She said Viking was taking passengers from luxury are premium brands.

So why are Australians embracing the new ships? What do they like?

“Everything! The all-inclusiveness, it’s really is hard to spend money on our ships. Also the serenity of the ship and our staff – we consistently receive wonderful reviews of our crew” says Ms Black.

“Our 23-day North Pacific Passage itinerary has been extremely popular with Australians & New Zealanders, its ticks a lot of bucket list destinations – Japan, Russia, Alaska and Canada.

“On the August departure 63% of the ship are Australians and New Zealanders.”

Bouyed by the initial success, Ms Black said: “We have big plans for this region – we are aiming to be Viking’s second biggest growth market for ocean. We will also be extending Viking Orion’s season here in 2020 – she will be arriving earlier adding more sailings to her schedule which is fantastic.

“We expect having Viking Orion here this summer will be our biggest marketing opportunity for 2019, and can’t wait to showcase her.”

Cruise Passenger’s review of Viking Orion is out now in our current edition. Find it at selected newsagents or in airport lounges and hotels – or subscribe now to win free luggage and a big discount.