Cruise line Viking has celebrated the “float out” of its new ship, the Viking Vela, during a ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Ancona, Italy.
The ship, with a gross tonnage of 54,300t, entered the water for the first time during the float out, ahead of its expected entry into service in December 2024 and will now enter the final stage of construction.
Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking, said: “Together with Fincantieri, we have built the world’s most elegant ocean vessels, and it is always a proud day when our newest ship meets water for the first time.”
“We look forward to welcoming the Viking Vela to our award-winning fleet next year and introducing even more curious travellers to the Viking way of exploration.” He added.
The 239m long Viking Vela will be able to accommodate 998 passengers when operational and will become the tenth ship in the cruise line’s fleet, operating around the Mediterranean and Northern Europe.
Fincantieri’s work on the ship continues a partnership between the shipbuilding company and the cruise line that has included construction contracts for around 20 ships, including the Viking Venus in 2020 and the Viking Neptune in 2022, which was fitted with a small hydrogen fuel system.
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Viking also actioned options for four more ships last year as part of a contract signed in 2018, with the Viking Vela being the first ship from that contract to be floated out.
Shipbuilding at the Ancona shipyard is likely only set to grow further after the Italian shipbuilder’s recent agreement with the Port System Authority of the Central Adriatic Sea to invest €80m ($86.9m) into the expansion and upgrade of infrastructure at the port.