Marking a significant milestone in the arrival of the travel industry’s first entirely new cruise line in a decade, Viking Ocean Cruises christened its first ship, the 930-passenger Viking Star, on May 17.
The ceremony – which took place in Bergen, Norway – occurred in conjunction with a citywide celebration for Norwegian Constitution Day and featured parades, parties and a public concert in the harboor that was attended by approximately 20,000 local residents and visitors.
The mayor of Bergen, Trude Drevland, served as ceremonial godmother and offered a blessing of good fortune and safe sailing for Viking Star – a naval tradition that dates back thousands of years.
“We believe the arrival of Viking Star signals a new era in destination-focused cruising, and I could not be more proud that she will call my favorite city in the world ‘home,’” said Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking Cruises. “This is a ship that was built for exploration and designed with our Scandinavian heritage in mind, and our guests will experience it from the moment they step onboard.”
Viking Star’s christening was the culmination of a maiden voyage that began April 11 when the ship set sail from Istanbul. Over the last five weeks, it made stops in what will be regular ports across the Mediterranean and Western Europe, including Athens, Santorini, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Venice, Barcelona, Seville (Cadiz), Gibraltar, Lisbon, Paris (Rouen) and London.