Thursday, 16 October 2014

Taking command of Viking's first ocean cruise ship

Contrary to the popular misconception, he does not wear a horned helmet or carry an axe. But Gulleik Svastalog (above) is the newest Viking captain.

He will be in command of Viking Star when it welcomes its first passengers next April, and is already overseeing the construction of the ship at Fincantieri’s Marghera yard near Venice.

Capt Svastalog brigs 45 years of sailing experience to Viking Ocean Cruises’ first vessel.  He has held a variety of senior ship management positions and has worked as superintendent for Norwegian Cruise Line and Crystal Cruises, and as Lead Auditor for the international maritime classification society, Det Norske Veritas (DNV). His most recent position was captain of Color Line Cruises.

He grew up on a farm in the mountains of Norway, but turned to the sea when he realized he was allergic to hay and horses. Now he says sailing is in  his blood, and that after so many years at sea, he has saved the best till last.

“We could not ask for a better captain for our first ocean ship,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. “Captain Svalastog brings an impeccable record that will undoubtedly guide Viking Star and her guests though a successful maiden season.”  

Viking Star is the first of three ocean cruise ships confirmed for the company which has revolutionised river cruising in Europe. Each carrying up to 930 passengers, Star, Sea and Sky will operate itineraries designed to give maximum time in port, and with excursions and gratuities included in the fare.