February 16, 2017
(2:30 p.m. EST) -- The keel for new Viking Ocean Cruises ship Viking Spirit was laid at a ceremony Wednesday at the Fincantieri shipyard in Ancona, Italy, marking the placement of the first piece of the ship's backbone.
Due for delivery in June 2018, the ship is the fifth of six planned by the cruise line. Three of the ships -- Viking Star, Viking Sea and Viking Sky -- are already sailing, and Viking Sun is set to launch in October of this year. The sixth vessel, which is currently unnamed, is slated to debut in 2019.
Like its siblings, 946-passenger Viking Spirit is expected to focus on destination immersion, with more time in port and itineraries that include overnights.
Although details haven't yet been released, it's likely Viking Spirit will be similar to its sister ships in layout and design. Passengers booking a sailing on this ship can expect free Wi-Fi, as well as complimentary beer and wine with dinner. Gratuities, however, are not included.
--By Ashley Kosciolek, Editor