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Two separate cruise lines announce ships same day

September 27, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Two world cruise lines have announced the addition of fourth ships to their respective ocean fleets – and oddly, although there’s no connection between the lines, both chose the same day to do it.

The big difference is that one line announced that a fourth ship would be built, while the other line actually took delivery of its fourth ship.

Cunard Line, one of the world’s most iconic shipping lines, with Australia its third largest international passenger source market, has revealed that a fourth ship is to join flagship Queen Mary 2 and sister ships Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth.

Meanwhile, Viking took delivery of Viking Sun, the company’s fourth ocean ship, announcing that the new ship would operate Viking’s first-ever world cruise. Viking Sun was built at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Ancona, Italy.

Fincantieri, as it happens, will also construct the new Cunard vessel. Viking Sun is a much smaller ship (930 pax) than the new Cunard ship will be (3000 pax).

Firstly, Cunard’s new ship.

The number of Australians who have sailed with Cunard this year is already nearly 60% higher than the number who sailed during the whole of 2012. Cunard’s new ship, as yet unnamed, will weigh in at 113,000 GRT (gross registered tons), will carry 3000 passengers and will be launched in 2022.

Cunard has signed a memorandum of agreement with Fincantieri S.p.A., Italy, to build a new ship to join the Cunard fleet. When the new ship becomes the fourth member of the Cunard fleet in 2022 it will be the first time since 1998 that the luxury cruise brand has four ships in simultaneous service.

Cunard, which celebrated its 175th anniversary in 2015, has subsequently invested over GBP 120 million refurbishing the flagship Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria.

Cunard’s senior vice president, Simon Palethorpe, said: “We have only recently marked the 50th anniversary of one of Cunard’s much loved ocean liners, the legendary QE2. What better way to celebrate her important role in Cunard’s past than by announcing our commitment to Cunard’s future with the commissioning of a new ship. Cunard offers unrivalled luxury ocean experiences and the new ship firmly underpins our plans to continue our growth across international markets.”

Cunard will reveal details about the new ship during the course of 2018 and through to the ship’s launch.

Secondly, Viking’s new ship.

On 4 October 2017, the brand new Viking Sun will set sail from Venice, making its way through the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. In early November, Viking Sun will cross the Atlantic and on 15 December 2017, the ship will embark on Viking’s first-ever world cruise.

Over the course of 141 days, Viking Sun will sail the world, visiting 35 countries and 66 ports, before the itinerary ends in London on 5 May 2018.

In 2019, Viking Sun will continue to sail the globe on the recently announced second world cruise, which spans 128-days, five continents, 21 countries and 44 ports with 10 port overnights.

“As we celebrate two decades of helping guests travel the world in comfort, this year also marks one of significant growth,” Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking, commented.

“We are pleased that with the delivery of Viking Sun we now have four small ships, each carrying only 930 guests. With the continued expansion of our offerings, we look forward to bringing guests to more destinations around the world and introducing them to the Viking way of exploration.”

Viking Sun, like Viking’s other three ships (Viking Star, Viking Sea and Viking Sky) has a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, with 465 staterooms that can accommodate 930 guests.

Viking will take delivery of two more sister ships in the next two years, and by 2019 it expects to become the largest small-ship ocean cruise line. Two additional ships are also on order for delivery in 2021 and 2022.

Torstein Hagen founded Viking in 1997 with the purchase of four ships in Russia. The line currently operates a fleet of 63 vessels, offering scenic cruising on rivers and oceans around the world.

Footnote: Azamara Club Cruises announced yesterday it is about to buy its third ship. The new ship will be called Azamara Pursuit and will  be of similar size to Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest.

Written by Peter Needham

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