By Kathryn Stone 2015-05-18 12:57:05
The Viking Star, the first ocean ship from river cruise giant Viking, officially launched Sunday following a ceremony attended by almost 20,000 in the vessel’s homeport of Bergen. The vessel’s launch marks the first new cruise ship line debut in over a decade. The 930 passenger, 47,800 ton Star Princess is the first that will operate under the newly formed Viking Ocean Cruises.
“We have always believed that cruising should be about connecting you to your destination – not just taking you to places on a map.” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. “With our new ocean cruises, we have created a new kind of vessel that is smaller in size and smarter in design, offering an alternative to today’s mega liners.”
Viking River Cruises currently operates over 60 ships, including over a dozen new vessels. With the new ocean division of Viking Cruises the company is seeking to further penetrate the nearly $39.6 billion annual-revenue cruise industry. The vessel will most likely compete with other high-end lines, which also offer smaller-sized ships.
According to statements given to Cruise Critic, Viking Ocean Cruises has plans to launch a minimum of nine additional ships of the same design and scale in the coming years. Currently, the company has two other vessels under construction the Viking Sea and the Viking Sky, which are set to be delivered in early 2017.
The Viking Star embarked on her maiden voyage from Istanbul to Venice on April 15. Like her sister ships she will sail itineraries in Scandinavia, the Baltic and the Mediterranean.