Many persons close to the cruise industry hold the view that the modern cruise sector of today that emerged in the early 70’s coincided with the establishment of the Royal Viking Line and their three elegant vessels the Royal Viking Sea, Sky and Star.
To this day, Royal Viking Line has built a reputation, which is still there, 20 years after the brand ceased to operate. One can perhaps then imagine the interest and excitement generated by the announcement of the intention to bring back the Royal Viking Line, if not in the name, at least in the service and reputation. Credence to the claim exists because Torstein Hagen is involved.
Hagen, who launched Viking River Cruises, in the late 1980s, was formerly president and CEO of Royal Viking Line and also a board member of Kloster Cruise and Holland America Line. A pedigree second to none. The newbuildings linked to the creation of Viking Ocean Cruises are referred to as Project Odin (a major god in Norse mythology), in line with not only the company’s Viking name, but also its riverboats, which are referred to as longboats (actually sea-going viking ships). The first vessel is due in Spring 2015 and the 930-passenger Viking Star – was “floated out,” in June of 2014 at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard outside Venice, Italy. With a total of three sister ships now under construction, Viking Star will be the first to debut in early 2015 with maiden voyages in Scandinavia and the Baltic; and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean.
“Today is a proud day for our entire Viking family, as we are one step closer to launching a new era of ocean cruising,” Viking Cruises Chairman Torstein Hagen said at the ceremony. “Viking Star’s maiden season was sold out before she even touched water, which just demonstrates how enthusiastic our guests are for destination-focused ocean cruises. It is this enthusiasm that has led us to place orders for two additional sister ships, Viking Sea and Viking Sky.”
According to Italian shipbuilding tradition, a float out ceremony is significant because it denotes a ship moving into its final stage of construction. Viking Star’s float out began at approximately 10:30 am local time, when a “madrina” – a woman of honour – cut a cord to allow water to begin flowing into the ship’s building dock.