Three Inaugural Calls for Dover in May

Three Inaugural Calls for Dover in May

Viking Sun

The Port of Dover saw three first-time cruise calls in May, highlighted by the Viking Sun and also including the Deutschland and Zenith.

The ships were greeted in true Dover Cruise style with a water salute from Dover Tugs Doughty and Dauntless, the port said.

In addition, the first bank holiday weekend saw the historic Western Docks at full capacity for the first time since 2016 with three cruise ships berthed together.

There was also a call from the expedition vessel, the Silver Cloud. The ship’s guests enjoyed a unique kayaking experience to view the iconic White Cliffs up close.

Holland America Line’s Prinsendam arrived in port on the Royal Wedding day on Saturday, May 19 to a celebratory great British Street Party in Cruise Terminal Two.

“Complimentary tempting food and drink were provided along with musical entertainment from the talented Nick Bosworth on piano and keyboard. Life-size cardboard figures of the Royal Family were positioned in the terminal where guests enjoyed taking selfies with them creating unique holiday memories. It was marvellous to see the affection passengers from all over the world have for our Royal Family,” the port said.

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What Viking’s growth means for river cruising

Image result for viking river cruises
The news that Viking River Cruises will add 24 Longships to its fleet signals two things: That following a brief lull in shipbuilding momentum, Viking is experiencing strong enough demand to merit a hefty commitment to more ships, and that the river cruise industry at large is entering a new growth phase.
So, let’s start with Viking. With the addition of 24 vessels in addition to the existing 65 ships already in the company’s river fleet (though we don’t know if and how many ships the company may retire in the coming years), one has to ask, what is in Viking’s secret sauce that lets it sustain such growth?
While only Viking is privy to the nuances of its success, the line has certain unique features that have likely helped fueled its expansion and popularity.
For one, Viking has become a household name in river cruising thanks in large part to its ads that blanketed popular TV programs like Downton Abbey on PBS and that air on National Public Radio. That kind of brand recognition definitely gives it an advantage.
In addition to product awareness, Viking has found the sweet spot in offering well-designed hardware at affordable prices. The line’s newest vessels, the Viking Longships, launched in 2012, feature open and airy public areas and contemporary Scandinavian design that makes them feel like unstuffy, sleek floating hotels. They also offer a wide range of stateroom options, from a modest 150-square-foot lower deck cabin with small windows to 275-square-foot veranda suites with step-out balconies and 445-square-foot explorer suites with a separate living room and bedroom.
It doesn’t hurt that Viking is also known for its attractive deals. For travellers who find river cruising to be too expensive, Viking’s promotions make its cruises more attainable.
Viking also pays agent commission on all components of its river cruises, including port charges and airline fees, which few other lines do.
Image result for amaways river cruises

While Viking’s fleet expansion always makes good headline fodder, Viking isn’t the only river cruise line that is growing. AmaWaterways recently announced that it will launch three vessels in 2019, including the double-wide 196-passenger AmaMagna, and this spring the last two of Crystal Cruises’ four new-build river ships set sail (the first two launched last fall).

The steady stream of ship orders suggests that demand for river cruising hasn’t let up. So, can Europe’s rivers sustain all the inventory? Well, there are certain issues the industry needs to consider as it continues on its shipbuilding path, including staggering itineraries so that that numerous ships aren’t all docked in the same ports at the same times. And docking space itself needs to be re-evaluated and solutions explored to ensure that ports don’t get overcrowded.

Physical growth logistics aside, however, river cruise lines often point out that the demand for the new ships is there. The number of river cruise passengers is still a small fraction of the number of ocean cruise passengers, meaning that many cruisers have yet to discover river cruising. For the river cruise lines, that fact alone signals that this segment is poised to continue on its current expansion path for years, if not decades, to come.

Viking Planning World’s First Liquid Hydrogen-Powered Cruise Ship

first hydrogen powered cruise ship
Illustration courtesy Viking Cruises

Viking Cruises has revealed that it is developing what could become the world’s first cruise powered by liquid hydrogen.

The company announced the plan Friday at the Safety at Sea Conference held in Haugesund, Norway.

The proposed hydrogen-powered cruise ship will be built based on existing cruise ship designs, such as the Viking Sun. It will be around 230 meters long and will accommodate more than 900 passengers and a crew of 500, according to Viking.

“This is a world sensation. Very exciting. If they pull this off, a distribution network may be established, which will enable others as well to use hydrogen as fuel, and could contribute to a zero-emission shipping industry,” says Director General of Shipping and Navigation, Olav Akselsen.

Viking says it has been working with the Norwegian International Ship Register on this and several other new projects in recent years. If developed, the new vessel will be registered in Norway.

“The ship will fly the Norwegian flag, which means that we have to vouch for the safety being just as good as on conventional ships. We believe that it is possible to solve those issues. We probably have a way to go before all the technical solutions are in place, but this is a very concrete project which has a high priority at Viking Cruises,” says Akselsen.

So far liquid hydrogen has never been used as a marine fuel, according to Viking Cruises. One of the technical challenges will be keeping the fuel at minus 253 degrees to keep it from evaporating. A fuel cell will convert the hydrogen to electricity for propulsion and electric power on board. Hydrogen is also a very explosive gas, and protection against gas leaks is an important part of the safety requirements for the fuel, Viking said.

“At Viking, we have always endeavoured to look forward and to be at the forefront with regard to green shipping. As a Norwegian and with Norwegian ships, we want to lead the way to zero-emission ships through fuel cell technology. The road to that point is still long, but here at Viking we want to be ahead of the game,” says Chairman of Viking Cruises, Torstein Hagen.

Currently, liquid hydrogen is not produced on a large scale in Europe, but Serge Fossati, a project manager for Viking, explained that Viking Cruises is in dialogue with Statoil in order to find a solution based on a Norwegian refinery. It also emerged that Viking wants to use Norwegian suppliers for the project as much as possible, and several tender ships to carry the fuel to the cruise ship are also part of the project, according to Viking.