Viking has named its newest ocean ship, the 930-passenger Viking Venus, during a celebration in the English Channel as the ship set sail on its inaugural voyage.
The ship’s ceremonial godmother, British journalist and broadcaster Anne Diamond, offered a blessing of good fortune and safe sailing for the ship in a naval tradition that dates back thousands of years.
The May 17 event was also an important milestone as Viking returns to service following 14 months of paused operations.
On May 22, Viking Venus will depart Portsmouth, England, for the first of five roundtrip sailings of “England’s Scenic Shores” itinerary in May and June. The eight-day voyages call in Liverpool, the Isles of Scilly, Falmouth and Portland.
Delivered in April 2021 at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Ancona, Italy, Viking Venus is the newest vessel to join Viking’s ocean fleet of identical sister ships, which also includes Viking Star, Viking Sea, Viking Sky, Viking Orion and Viking Jupiter.
Viking’s ocean vessels have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons and with 465 all-veranda staterooms. The ships feature minimalist Scandinavian design, public spaces filled with natural light and several al fresco dining options.
“Today is one of the proudest days in Viking’s nearly 24-year history. When we became the first cruise line to suspend operations in March 2020, we certainly did not know it would be 14 months before guests would be welcomed back on board," said Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen. "Now, we are among the first to set sail again — and with our industry-leading health and safety protocols in place, we believe there is no safer way to travel the world than on a Viking voyage.”
During the naming ceremony, Diamond assisted in breaking a bottle of Norwegian aquavit on the ship’s hull, using a Viking broad axe to cut a ribbon that symbolically held the bottle in place.
Viking is restarting operations with voyages exclusively for vaccinated guests in England, Iceland, Bermuda and Malta . The company hopes to announce further 2021 sailings as soon as government approvals are given. A complete overview of Viking’s health and safety program can be found here .