Viking Cruises has revealed its inaugural Ocean class – the 930-passenger Viking Star – has been floated out, the first time the new ship has touched water.
The traditional ceremony, which marks the first new cruise line in nearly a decade, took place at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard outside Venice.
With a total of three sister ships now under construction, Viking Star, debuts in early 2015 with maiden voyages in Scandinavia and the Baltic; and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean – as well as two new itineraries for 2016 that visit the British Isles.
Viking Cruises chairman, Torstein Hagen, said at the ceremony: “Today is a proud day for our entire Viking family, as we are one step closer to launching a new era of ocean cruising.
“Viking Star’s maiden season was sold out before she even touched water, which just demonstrates how enthusiastic our guests are for destination-focused ocean cruises.
“It is this enthusiasm that has led us to place orders for two additional sister ships, Viking Sea and Viking Sky.”
According to Italian shipbuilding tradition, a float out ceremony is significant because it denotes a ship moving into its final stage of construction.
Viking Star’s float out began at 10.30 local time, when a “madrina” – a woman of honor from the shipyard – cut a cord to allow water to begin flowing into the ship’s building dock.
Following a two-day process that set Viking Star afloat, she will now be moved to a nearby outfitting dock for final construction and interior build-out.
Viking Star was borne of Viking’s move to redefine the Ocean Cruise experience by leveraging extensive feedback and input from passengers, with experienced travellers in mind.
Itineraries are designed for maximum time in port, often with late evenings or overnights allowing guests to experience the local culture.