Viking Orion Named by NASA Astronaut Dr. Anna Fisher in Italy

Viking Orion Naming

Viking Ocean Cruises has named its fifth ocean ship, Viking Orion during a celebration in Livorno, Italy.

The ship was delivered to Viking last week and is currently sailing a maiden voyage with her ceremonial godmother, American chemist, emergency room physician and retired NASA astronaut

Named after the prominent constellation and in honour of Dr. Fisher’s work on NASA’s Orion exploration vehicle project, the 930-guest 47,800-ton Viking Orion arrived in Livorno early this morning, Viking said.

“Today is a proud day for the entire Viking family. Just three years ago we launched our first ocean ship, and now we are welcoming our fifth ship, whose name was selected to honour both the original Viking explorers who used the constellations for long-distance navigation, as well as the great space explorers of our time,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “We are grateful for Dr. Fisher’s many contributions to the scientific community, and we are humbled that she is godmother to Viking Orion. The spirit of exploration is at the heart of the Viking way of travel, and we look forward to welcoming guests onboard our newest ship, which has been designed to offer opportunities for learning about the great history of space exploration.”

Viking Orion Naming

Following her arrival this on Thursday morning, Viking Orion was positioned alongside the city’s historic Medici-built Fortezza Vecchia (Old Fortress). Livorno is known as a gateway to Tuscany, a region reached by the original Viking explorers.

Nearby, Pisa is also known for its native Galileo Galilei – “The Father of Science” – whose gravitational theories and the invention of the Galilean telescope have been central to advancements in oceanic navigation.

It was at the Fortezza Vecchia that in 1662 students of Galileo held an experiment to test his projectile motion theory.

Livorno – with its Fortezza Vecchia – was chosen specifically for Viking Orion’s naming ceremony because of those connections to scientific studies and exploration.

Viking Orion Naming

During the naming ceremony, guests enjoyed a high-tech show and musical concert that paid tribute to Nordic mythology and the spirit of exploration. Legendary British explorer Sir Ranulph “Ran” Fiennes served as the narrator for the event, which also included musical performances from Italian tenor Antonio Corianò, Norwegian bukkehorn musician Sissel Morken Gullord and Norwegian singer Sissel Kyrkjebø, who is widely considered one of the world’s top crossover sopranos and who will also be godmother to Viking Jupiter, which debuts in early 2019.

In addition to the naming ceremony, “Finse Explores the Universe” was also released, the 14th book in the educational children’s book series, “The World of Finse”, which showcases the adventures of Viking Senior Vice President Karine Hagen’s yellow Labrador, Finse.

Advertisements

Viking and Fincantieri shipbuilding yard agree on a deal for six new ocean ships

Image result for viking cruise ship

Viking has agreed to a deal with Fincantieri Shipyard to build six new ocean ships.

The agreement with the Italian manufacturer for the new vessels would increase the ship’s ocean fleet to 16 if all the options are taken up.

Viking revealed the six additional ships will be delivered between 2024 and 2027.

In a statement, Viking said the agreement is subject to “specific conditions”.

The announcement comes ahead of Viking’s officially naming its fourth ocean ship, Viking Sun, on March 8 in Shanghai.

The ocean fleet will welcome two more ships in the next two years, including Viking Orion in June 2018.

Ten additional ships are now on order for delivery starting in 2021, which will bring the ocean fleet to 16 vessels by 2027.

Torstein Hagen, Viking’s chairman, said the latest ship order from the line was in response to the positive feedback Viking had from its passengers and the industry.

He said: “As we continue to expand our brand, we look forward to bringing guests to more destinations around the world and introducing them to the Viking way of exploration.”

Ocean-river combos alluring option for cruise lovers

Image result for viking river cruise ships
It seems like something true cruise enthusiasts could really get onboard with: the marriage of a blue water sailing with one that ventures into the inland waterways.

So, it comes as little surprise that the one company with a solid stake in both the ocean and river markets, Viking, quietly launched itineraries that combine an ocean and river cruise.

Viking currently has three itineraries it calls its Ocean & River Voyages. The 15-day Rhine & Viking Shores & Fjords combines a Rhine river cruise with a North Sea sailing (with both 2018 and 2019 departure dates); the 22-day Grand European & Viking Fjords combines a Danube, Rhine and Main cruise with a North Sea sailing (with departures in 2019); and the 18-day Rhine and Amsterdam to Catalonia brings together a Rhine cruise with a sailing along the Atlantic Ocean (with departures in 2018).

It’s an approach worth watching as a slowly growing number of cruise lines build and offer both ocean and river products. In addition to Viking, Crystal Cruises now has vessels that sail both blue and inland waters, and Scenic is gearing up to make its first foray into ocean cruising with the launch of the 228-passenger Scenic Eclipse this summer.

On a smaller scale, Pandaw River Cruises has started to offer coastal sailings in Southeast Asia in addition to its numerous river cruises on the Mekong and Irrawaddy rivers. Closer to home, American Cruise Lines has cruises both along the U.S. and Canada coastlines as well as on U.S. rivers, and UnCruise offers a Columbia and Snake river sailing in addition to its numerous coastal cruises. French river cruise company CroisiEurope has some coastal ships as well. Since for the most part, river cruises can’t go where ocean cruises can and vice versa, it seems the two would work well together as a combined offering for passengers that have the time and the willingness to experience two very different types of cruising.

Perhaps for Viking, there’s a larger goal at play with the combination cruises, too. Travel Weekly’s cruise editor Tom Stieghorst recently reported that Viking’s senior vice president of marketing Richard Marnell admitted that one of Viking Ocean’s core challenges is that the Viking name is still associated primarily with river cruises. Combining the company’s ocean and river offerings could be seen as a way to introduce those river cruisers to the ocean product.

For companies with access to both markets, the opportunity to cross-market and introduce river cruisers to the oceans and ocean cruisers to the rivers is definitely an advantage worth weighing. While some might argue that they are very different markets with distinct passengers, river cruise line surveys of their passengers often find that many of them are ocean cruisers as well, suggesting that there is a potential marketplace for the ocean-river combination cruise.