Viking Cruises has successfully laid the keel for its first ocean cruise vessel, Viking Star, in a ceremony at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard outside of Venice, Italy.
The company first cut steel for Viking Star in June 2013, but laying the keel represents the formal beginning of the construction process.
The cruise vessel will make its maiden voyages in Scandinavia, the Baltic and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean and will carry up to 930 passengers.
Viking Cruises chairman Torstein Hagen said: "There is undoubtedly interest in an ocean cruise experience that returns the focus to the destination, and Viking is actively planning to meet that demand."
Viking Star is scheduled for delivery in early 2015.
The company will also launch 14 new Viking Longships river vessels in March 2014.
Viking Cruises currently offers cruises along the rivers of Europe, Russia, Ukraine, China, South East Asia and Egypt. It plans to offer ocean cruises featuring Baltic and Mediterranean itineraries in spring 2015.
Image: Viking Cruises chairman Torstein Hagen (centre) at the keel laying ceremony for Viking Star in Venice, Italy. Photo: courtesy of PRNewsFoto/Viking Cruises.