LOS ANGELES, June 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Viking Cruises (www.vikingcruises.com) today announced it has cut steel in the construction of its first ocean cruise vessel, Viking Star, marking a major development toward the company's ocean product. The steel cutting took place at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard outside Venice, Italy. Viking Star is scheduled to be delivered in early 2015, with maiden voyages beginning in April 2015.
"This is a big step towards realizing our ocean cruising plans," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. "With our new ocean cruises, we are applying the same principles behind our award-winning river cruises—small, intimate ships with destination-focused itineraries that allow guests to experience privileged access excursions and onboard cultural experiences."
The ship was designed by experienced nautical architects and engineers, including London-based SMC Design and Los Angeles-based Rottet Studios. The 47,800gt ship will have 464 cabins and accommodate 928 guests. Viking Star is one of two ocean ships on order; both will be built by Fincantieri at its Marghera shipyard.
Viking's foray into ocean cruising marks the introduction of the travel industry's first entirely new cruise line in nearly a decade. Itineraries for maiden voyages starting in April 2015 include cruising in Scandinavia and the Baltic; and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean. Guests on the 928-passenger all-veranda Viking Star will experience cruising with destination as the focus, maximum time in port and an onboard cultural enrichment program ideal for an experienced traveler with an interest in history, art and culture.
Viking Cruises has aggressive expansion plans in both the ocean and river cruise categories, with a second ocean ship on order for delivery in 2016 and with conditional orders and options for four more additional ocean vessels. The ocean ship order follows the company's continued rapid fleet expansion in the river cruise sector, with 10 new Viking Longships christened in 2013 and 12 new Viking Longships planned to launch in 2014.
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About Viking Cruises
Viking Cruises offers destination-centric river and ocean cruising designed for experienced travelers with an interest in geography, culture and history. Featuring onboard cultural enrichment and included shore excursions, Viking's journeys are competitively priced for genuine value. Debuting its maiden season in 2015, the sophisticated state-of-the-art Viking Star will host 928 guests on itineraries in Scandinavia and the Baltic; and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean. As the world's leading river cruise line, since its 1997 inception the company has grown to a fleet of 35 river vessels (in 2013) offering scenic cruising along the rivers of Europe, Russia, Ukraine, China, Southeast Asia and Egypt. Viking has been honored multiple times in Travel + Leisure's "World's Best" Awards and Condé Nast Traveler's "Gold List" as well as recognized by the editors of Cruise Critic as "Best River Cruise Line," with the entire Viking Longships fleet being named "Best New River Ships of 2012" in the website's Editors' Picks Awards. The travel trade has ranked Viking as the "Best River Cruise Line" by Travel Weekly, Recommend and Travel Agent magazines, "Best Cruise Line for Luxury River Cruises" at the Luxury Travel Advisor Awards of Excellence and as "Best Overall Cruise Line for River Cruising" and "Best River Cruise Line for Travel Agent Support" in TravelAge West's WAVE Awards. For additional information, contact Viking Cruises at 1‑855‑8-VIKING (1‑855‑884‑5464) or visit www.vikingcruises.com. To join the Viking Cruises communities online, visit www.facebook.com/vikingcruises, www.facebook.com/vikingoceans and www.facebook.com/vikingrivercruises.
SOURCE Viking Cruises