Third Oceangoing Ship Is One of Two to Launch this Year
On Thursday, June 22, 2017, Viking Cruises’ Viking Sky was christened in a pierside ceremony in Tromsø, Norway. Celebrated by guests onboard Viking Sky and by the townspeople of this arctic city, the christening also marks a major milestone in the history of Viking Cruises.
Founded in 1997 by Torstein Hagen, Viking celebrates its 20th Anniversary this year. During that time, it has grown from a small upstart river cruise line operating in Russia into the largest river cruise line in the world, with over 50 of its trendsetting Viking Longships on the rivers of Europe today.
Back in 2013, Viking unveiled another dream: a fleet of oceangoing passenger ships that would bring river cruise style amenities to the world of cruising. Years before, Tor Hagen had started polling the line’s repeat river guests, asking a single question: if we offered ocean cruises, would you book? The response was positive, and plans were immediately drawn up for a fleet of identical sister-ships.
The result was the 930-guest Viking Star, which entered service in 2015. The first ship in any new class is notoriously troublesome; something is always overlooked. Viking Star, however, was about as perfect as a new ship could get. Like the Viking Longships, she was also accurate: renderings compared extremely well to the actual finished product (which isn’t always the case), and the ship displayed the same beautiful Scandinavian elegance that Viking had developed for its river cruise vessels.
Viking also resisted the pressure to do what every other cruise line was doing. Viking Star had wide, expansive decks; a wraparound promenade deck; an infinity pool. She gave up a noisy casino in favour of relaxed public spaces filled with books and Nordic art. She eschewed the usual brand-name shops in favour of European and Scandinavian ones. Even her spa isn’t run by the usual suspects (Steiner and Canyon Ranch); it’s operated by LivNordic.
Last year, Viking Sea, the line’s second oceangoing ship, was christened in Greenwich, England, on the River Thames. And today, Viking Sky was officially welcomed into the fleet, christened by Godmother Marit Barstad, sister of Viking’s founder and Chairman, Torstein Hagen.
“This is a special time of year in Norway – these are the days of the midnight sun and the perfect backdrop for a celebration. All of our ships proudly carry the Norwegian flag, and it is an especially proud day to officially welcome our new ship in Tromsø, the arctic capital of the world,” said Hagen. “Vikings were explorers, and our ships are built with their spirit of exploration in mind. We design every aspect of our ships and cruises so that our guests can spend more time im