Viking® has announced its newest ship for the Nile River—the 82-guest Viking Aton—was “floated out,” marking a major construction milestone and the first time the ship has touched water. Set to debut in August 2023, the Viking Aton will join the company’s growing fleet of state-of-the-art ships purpose-built for the Nile River and sail Viking’s bestselling 12-day Pharaohs & Pyramids itinerary. Viking has seen very strong demand in Egypt, with the 2023 season now sold out and many 2024 sailing dates already sold out. The surge in demand has led Viking to open 2025 sailing dates sooner than originally expected.
“We are pleased with the continued strong interest for our Nile River voyages. Our guests are curious explorers, and Egypt remains a destination of great interest for its many cultural treasures,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “We are proud to be the only western company to build, own and operate ships on the Nile, and with the float out of the Viking Aton, we look forward to welcoming more guests to experience this fantastic region.”
The traditional float out ceremony took place at Massara shipyard in Cairo on Tuesday, April 4, 2023, and is significant because it denotes a ship moving into its final stage of construction. The float out of Viking Aton began at approximately 1:00 p.m. local time when Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen and Sayed Farouk, Chairman of The Arab Contractors (Osman Ahmed Osman & Co.), together pressed the button that signaled to lower the ship-lift of the yard. She will now be moved to a nearby outfitting dock for final construction and interior build-out.
The Viking Aton & Viking’s Growing Egypt Fleet
Hosting 82 guests in 41 staterooms, the new, state-of-the-art Viking Aton is inspired by Viking’s award-winning river and ocean ships with the elegant Scandinavian design for which Viking is known. The identical sister ship to the Viking Osiris, which was named in 2022 by Viking’s first ceremonial godfather, the 8th Earl of Carnarvon, the Viking Aton features several aspects familiar to Viking guests, such as a distinctive square bow and an indoor/outdoor Aquavit Terrace. In addition to the Viking Osiris, the Viking Aton will join the Viking Ra, which launched in 2018. In response to strong demand, Viking will have six ships sailing the Nile by 2025 with the addition of two new sister ships, the Viking Hathor and the Viking Sobek, which are already under construction and will be delivered in 2024 and 2025, respectively.
Viking’s Pharaohs & Pyramids Itinerary
During the 12-day, Pharaohs & Pyramids itinerary, guests begin with a three-night stay at a first-class hotel in Cairo, where they can visit iconic sites such as the Great Pyramids of Giza, the necropolis of Sakkara, the Mosque of Muhammad Ali, or the Grand Egyptian Museum. Guests then fly to Luxor, where they visit the Temples of Luxor and Karnak before boarding a Viking river ship for an eight-day roundtrip cruise on the Nile River, featuring Privileged Access to the tomb of Nefertari in the Valley of the Queens and the tomb of Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings, and excursions to the Temple of Khnum in Esna, the Dendera Temple complex in Qena, the temples at Abu Simbel and the High Dam in Aswan, and a visit to a colorful Nubian village, where guests can experience a traditional elementary school. Finally, the journey concludes with a flight back to Cairo for a final night in the ancient city.
For guests looking to extend their journey, Viking also offers Pre and Post Extensions that provide Privileged Access to archives and exhibits. Guests on the five-day British Collections of Ancient Egypt extension will begin the journey in London, where they will meet their Viking Tour Director, an expert Egyptologist, and experience Privileged Access to two museums: first a private, early morning visit to the Egyptian Collection at the British Museum before it opens to the general public – and then a visit to the home and personal museum of world-renowned architect, Sir John Soane, where the tour will be illuminated by candlelight, a re-enactment of how Soane entertained guests and showcased his exquisite collection of Egyptian antiquities, including a 3,000-year-old Egyptian sarcophagus. Guests will also visit London’s Petrie Museum, which houses more than 80,000 artifacts from ancient Egypt and Sudan. In Oxford, guests will visit the Ashmolean Museum, one of the oldest in the world, and home to a varied collection of Egyptian mummies and art—and go behind the scenes at Oxford University’s Griffith Institute, where they will enjoy a Privileged Access visit to see Howard Carter’s archives, which detail the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb. Lastly, guests will have further Privileged Access with an exclusive visit to Highclere Castle to view the Earl’s magnificent private collection of Egyptian artifacts, as well as archives and exhibits not normally accessible to the public.
Additional offerings include a Pre Extension in Jerusalem where guests will explore the ancient history and vibrant culture of Israel’s fascinating capital and a Post Extension to Jordan – Petra, Dead Sea & Amman to view Roman antiquities at Jerash, Crusader-era castles at Kerak or Shobak and experience the lost city of Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.