Viking Cruises' ocean fleet is continuing to expand with the 998-passenger Viking Vela, scheduled to launch in 2024. The adult-only vessel will become the 10th in the fleet and will be slightly larger than the previous ships. Aside from the slight change in size, it will have the familiar layout and Scandinavian-style interior decor found in all of the other ships.
While the majority of cruise lines launch new ships that boast additional features or changes in design, the Viking 'difference' is that all of its vessels -- including its Longship riverboats -- are virtually identical. Viking says this gives a sense of continuity and familiarity to returning passengers, as well as those making a first-time switch from river cruising to ocean voyages.
The sophisticated Scandinavian-style interiors and outdoor areas on Viking Vela include the Aquavit Terrace al fresco dining area -- also found on the Longships -- the light and airy Wintergarden where traditional afternoon tea is served against a backdrop of live piano music, the panoramic Explorers' lounge packed with interesting books and artifacts and the Living Room with a large LED screen and lichen garden. Throughout the vessel there is Nordic-inspired artwork.
The two largest dining venues are The Restaurant -- Viking's equivalent of the main dining room serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner -- and the more casual World Cafe, which serves cuisine from around the globe in a buffet-style setting. The Chef's Table, serves themed tasting menus with optional for-fee wine pairings, Manfredi's Italian restaurant is known for its steaks and the Pool Grill serves burgers, salads and fast food. The Mamsen's food counter offers Scandinavian specialties. The only for-fee venue is the Kitchen Table which hosts cookery classes.
Entertainment on Viking ships mainly centers on classical music recitals plus live bands and dancing in the Torshaven nightspot. The ship has two pools and a fitness center.
Viking Vela's cabins are all outside with balconies and come in six categories. They range from 288-square-foot Veranda Staterooms to the huge Owner's Suite which measures 1,448 square feet and has its own sauna. All cabins are decorated in muted and restful tones and include 24-hour room service, a mini-bar, bathrooms with heated floors, plush robes and slippers and premium toiletries.
Like its sibling vessels, Viking Vela will offer a high number of inclusions, including a range of complimentary shore excursions, dining in all restaurants, wine, beer, and sodas with lunch and dinner, plus access to the spa's thermal suite.
To date all of Viking's oceangoing ships have been identical in size. While Viking Vela will have exactly the same amenities and deck layout as its siblings, it is slightly larger in size, allowing for 17 additional cabins and room to house additional technical equipment required by new International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations. This means the ship will carry up to 998 passengers at full capacity compared with the current 930.
The vessel, like all the other Viking cruise ships, is being constructed at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy. Viking Vela will be 784 feet in length and 101 feet wide, which is almost 40 feet longer and seven-foot wider than the other ships in the fleet. It will also weigh more and have an additional gross tonnage of 1,100 compared with its predecessors.
Viking Vela is set to launch in December 2024 and the exact date and maiden voyage itinerary has yet to be announced.
Viking Vela will spend its inaugural season sailing in northern Europe focusing on the British Isles, Norwegian fjords, Scandinavia and Iceland. Cruises include the new 26-night 'British Isles and Iceland Explorer' from Reykjavik to London Greenwich. Sailings during the maiden season start at 12 nights and will include 'Iceland's Majestic Landscapes' from Bergen to Reykjavík, the popular 14-night 'Viking Homelands' sailing from Stockholm to Bergen and itineraries focused on the northern lights.
Viking Vela is 48,900 gross tons and carry 998 passengers at double occupancy, with 470 crew.