(Oct. 10, 7:45 a.m. EDT) -- Viking Cruises has started selling its new ocean line Viking Ocean Cruises to U.K. passengers.
The line has begun taking bookings for the 48,000-ton, 928-passenger Viking Star for sailings in the Baltic and the Mediterranean from April 2015.
The maiden voyage -- a 50-day cruise from Istanbul to Stockholm with starting prices from £11,499 -- has already sold out.
Wendy Atkin-Smith, Managing Director Viking Cruises U.K. said: "We are thrilled to launch Viking Ocean Cruises in the U.K. market. The state of the art design of our Viking Longships have revolutionised the river cruise experience and now, with the introduction of Viking Star, we intend to revolutionise ocean cruising. Our ship is smaller in size and smarter in design -- an alternative to today's mega-liners." Viking Star is the first of two new oceangoing vessels being built for the line at the Fincantieri shipyard, Italy.
The ship's design will reflect that of Viking's Longships' sleek Scandinavian lines. Viking Star will be small enough to allow for direct access into most ports, and will stay longer and later so passengers can get the most of port stops.
A second as-yet-unnamed vessel will launch in 2016, and Viking has conditional orders and options for four more ocean vessels.
The ocean ship order follows the company's extraordinary fleet expansion in the river cruise sector, with 10 new river ships christened this year, and 14 more river ships planned for launch in 2014.
--by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor