Viking Cruises, a California-based company that operates 35 river cruising vessels, has launched a new cruise line, Viking Ocean Cruises, in the UK.
The first vessel from the Viking Ocean Cruises line will be Viking Star, which will sail routes in Scandinavia, the Baltic, and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean from May 2015.
To be built by Italy-based Fincantieri shipyard, the 930-passenger Viking Star will feature staterooms, explorer suites, two pools, a spa, an explorer’s lounge and wintergarden, and restaurants.
The ship has been designed by London-based SMC Design and Los Angeles-based Rottet Studios.
Viking Cruises has also received an order for the delivery of the second vessel in 2016, with four more ocean vessels in line waiting for conditional orders.
The ocean ship order follows the expansion of its river cruise ship sector, which added ten new river ships in March 2013 with another 14 planned for launch in 2014.
Viking Cruises chairman Torstein Hagan said that with the new ocean cruises, the company is applying the same principles behind their award-winning river cruises to their itinerary and ship design; privileged-access excursions; and onboard experiences to make destinations the true focus.
Viking Cruises UK managing director Wendy Atkin-Smith said they are thrilled to launch Viking Ocean Cruises in the UK market.
"The state-of-the-art design of our Viking Longships has revolutionised the river cruise experience and now, with the introduction of Viking Star, we intend to revolutionise ocean cruising. Our ship is smaller in size and smarter in design – an alternative to today’s mega-liners," Atkin-Smith added.