Monday, 16 December 2013

Viking Order More Ships

By Editor Simon Veness

The new ocean-going version of Viking Cruises, which is due to make its debut in May 2015, is definitely going full steam ahead, with the announcement today of two more new ships for  2016 and '17, which will take the fledgling line to FOUR vessels in all.
As with the first duo, to be delivered in 2015 and early 2016, the latest pair will be built at the Italian shipyard Fincantieri, and will also be sister vessels at 47,800 tons each.
No price was revealed for the two extra newbuilds, but industry source Seatrade Insider estimated that the first two of the quartet are costing around $308million each.

Viking also revealed they are discussing additional high-profile joint projects with Fincantieri in other cruise areas to further enlarge the scope of their partnership.

Viking chairman Torstein Hagen said: "The interest in and popularity of our current ocean itineraries has been incredible and they are selling at an unprecedented rate. This new order allows us to offer consumers in our other markets the opportunity to explore the world in ways they have never experienced before through our destination-focused itineraries."
Shipyard chief executive Giuseppe Bono added: "Fincantieri has got its fill this year of the newbuild orders offered by the market. This again demonstrates our determination and ability to compete. We hope the next few years will provide more and greater satisfaction that we'll need to pursue with the passion and cultural openness demanded by the competitive environment."

Viking's first ship of their ambitious new foursome will be called Viking Star and will sail an inaugural season of Baltic cruises in summer 2015, re-positioning to the Mediterranean through winter 2015/16. None of the other ships have yet been named, nor destinations announced, but it is likely they will feature more of Europe in the summer months and go further afield to the Caribbean and Central America in winter.

The company also promises a highly destination-focused travel experience, with an emphasis on cultural enrichment. On the river side, Viking has already announced plans to introduce 14 more of its award-winning Viking Longships in Europe next year, making it the leading river-cruise operator by the end of 2014.
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