Viking Ocean Cruises newest ship, Viking Star, touched the water for the first time today at a floating out ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Venice, Italy.
Viking Star is set to debut in early 2015 with maiden voyages in Scandinavia and the Baltic as well as the Mediterranean. In 2016, the ship will visit the British Isles on two separate itineraries.
One of the newest ocean cruise lines, Viking Oceans is currently building three sister ships -- two in addition to Viking Star.
Viking's chairman, Torstein Hagen said: "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 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 10.30 a.m., local time, when a “madrina” – a woman of honor from the shipyard – cut a cord to allow water to begin flowing into the ship's building dock. Following a two-day process that set Viking Star afloat, the ship will now be moved to a nearby outfitting dock for final construction and work on the interior.
--by Jamey Bergman, UK Production Editor