Viking Ocean Cruises® (www.vikingoceancruises.com) today announced its third ship—the 930-passenger Viking Sky—was “floated out,” marking a major construction milestone and the first time that the new ship touches water. The traditional ceremony took place yesterday at Fincantieri’s Ancona shipyard, just one day before the company takes delivery of its second ship, Viking Sea, which will officially debut to guests next month. Viking Sky is scheduled for delivery in early 2017. The company also today announced that it has placed an order with Fincantieri for three additional sister ships, which will bring Viking’s total number of ocean ships to six by 2020.
“It is a special day when a new ship meets water for the first time. This is our third ship to be floated out in three years, so it is indeed a proud moment for our entire Viking family,” said Torstein Hagen, founder and chairman of Viking Cruises. “Our first ship, Viking Star, has enjoyed great success in her maiden season. I look forward to her five sister ships experiencing the same respective success as they debut over the coming years.”
A float out ceremony is significant because it denotes a ship moving into its final stage of construction. Viking Sky’s float out began at approximately 4:30 p.m. local time, and in keeping with maritime tradition, a madrina – a special woman of honor – assisted with the ceremony. Marit Barstad, sister of Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen, served as Viking Sky’s madrina and welded commemorative coins under the ship’s mast that represented three family birth years: 1911 (mother Ragnhild “Mamsen” Hagen, after whom the onboard Norwegian deli Mamsen’s is named; 1943 (Ms. Barstad’s own birth year) and 1948 (brother and Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen’s birth year). Ms. Barstad also cut a cord to allow water to begin flowing into the ship’s building dock. Following a two-day process that will set Viking Sky afloat, she will then be moved to a nearby outfitting dock for final construction and interior build-out.
Viking Star, Viking Sea and Viking Sky
Viking’s ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, boast 465 cabins and accommodate 930 passengers. Viking Sky is the third of six ocean cruise ships on order and will be delivered in early 2017; the three remaining yet-to-be-named ships will be delivered in late 2017, 2018 and 2020, respectively. Classified by Cruise Critic as “small ships,” Viking’s ocean fleet features understated elegance and modern Scandinavian design. Highlights include:
- All Veranda Staterooms: Guests can choose from five stateroom categories, starting from a 270 sq. ft. Veranda Stateroom, all with private verandas and premium amenities that include king-size beds with luxury linens, large showers, luxury toiletries, heated bathroom floors and large interactive flat-screen LCD TVs with movies-on-demand.
- Explorer Suites: The ship features 14 Explorer Suites, which are two-room suites ranging from 757 to 1,163 sq. ft. that offer sweeping views from wraparound private verandas as well as the most amenities and privileges of any category onboard.
- Two Pool Choices: In addition to the Main Pool with a retractable roof permitting any-season swimming, the ship features a first-of-its-kind glass-backed Infinity Pool cantilevered off the stern, allowing guests to swim surrounded by their destination.
- LivNordic Spa: In keeping with Viking’s Nordic heritage, The Spa onboard is designed with the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia in mind—from the centuries-old tradition of the sauna to a Snow Grotto where snowflakes gently descend from the ceiling through chilled air. Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2016 named it one of the “5 best cruise ship spas.”
- Explorers’ Lounge and Mamsen’s: Share a cocktail with friends. Linger over a Norwegian breakfast and a nautical history book. The Explorers’ Lounge and Mamsen’s gourmet deli are thoughtful spaces located at the bow and designed in the Scandinavian spirit, for complete relaxation and for marveling at sweeping views through double-height windows.
- The Wintergarden: Guests looking for serenity will find it in the Wintergarden. In this elegant space under a canopy of Scandinavian trellised wood, guests can indulge in afternoon tea service.
- Dining Choices: Viking Star offers multiple restaurant locations and food choices—from fine dining in The Restaurant, which serves three full meals and the widest choice of culinary options, and the World Café, which serves international fare and regional specialties—to intimate dining experiences at The Chef’s Table, which offers a multi-course tasting menu complete with wine parings, and Manfredi’s, which features freshly prepared pastas and Italian favorites. Additionally, The Kitchen Table focuses on regional dishes from market to table; the Pool Grill specializes in gourmet burgers; afternoon tea and scones are available in the Wintergarden; and Mamsen’s serves Norwegian deli-style fare. Furthermore, with multiple choices for outdoor seating during meals, Viking Star offers the most al fresco dining at sea.
- Enriching Entertainment: Connecting guests to their destinations through authentic experiences is central to Viking in creating “the thinking person’s cruise.” Instead of casinos and water slides, guests are offered Viking’s Culture Curriculum® including: world-class lectures on history and art; tasting of vintage wines from their destinations; restaurant menus inspired by local cuisine; informative port talks; enriching Destination Performances featuring folkloric shows and musicians playing regional and classical music; an onboard cooking school allowing guests to learn how to prepare local specialties.
- Sustainable Features: Designed with the environment in mind, Viking Star features energy-efficient hybrid engines, hydro-dynamically optimized streamlined hull and bow for maximum fuel efficiency and equipment that minimizes exhaust pollution and meets the strictest environmental regulations.
The Viking Difference
Designed for discerning travelers, Viking offers guests “the thinking person’s cruise” as an alternative to mainstream cruises. The Viking Difference is providing guests with extraordinarily well-designed cruises that bring them closer to the cultures of the world. Ships are small to get guests closer to their destination, with more time in port, more overnights and fewer days at sea. Onboard, guests find serene Scandinavian spaces, where every room is beautiful and functional, quiet and filled with light. All-veranda ships mean that guests experience every day with a new, expansive vista. With the most al freso dining at sea, featuring regional cuisines and always-available American classics, Viking’s guests can truly dine in their destination. A focus on cultural enrichment brings immersive experiences onshore and onboard. And only The Viking Way brings guests itineraries that feature Local Life, Working World and Privileged Access experiences.
In addition, Viking Inclusive Cruising provides a small ship experience at a big ship value—with every cruise fare including a veranda stateroom, shore excursions in each port of call, all onboard meals, and all port charges and government taxes. Guests also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including: beer and wine with lunch and dinner service; premium dining reservations; Wi-Fi; self-service laundry; access to the Thermal Suite in the LivNordic Spa; and 24-hour room service—a value of more than $2,400 per couple for an average cruise.
From now through March 31, 2016, Viking is offering U.S. residents a 2016 Special Savings Discount with free air from 150 cities, plus up to $1,000 off per couple. Contact a travel agent or call Viking toll free at 1-855-8-VIKING (1-855-884-5464).