Interior view: Viking Cruises’ Viking Saigon

The new vessel features Scandinavian interiors with a South East Asian twist. Viking Cruises’ Harald Seebacher tells Elly Yates-Roberts more

Interior view: Viking Cruises’ Viking Saigon
Viking Saigon has been designed to give guests uninterrupted views of the Mekong River and surrounding countryside

Viking Cruises is set to launch its new ship Viking Saigon in 2021. Designed specifically for the Mekong River in South East Asia, the vessel will encapsulate the cruise line’s destination-centred approach.  

“Our guests choose their itinerary based on the places they want to explore,” says Harald Seebacher, vice president of onboard operations and innovation at Viking Cruises. “We always want them to feel they are returning to a welcoming and warm environment when they come back onboard but the emphasis is very much on the destination itself.”  

With this in mind, Seebacher says that the décor will offer a comfortable, restful and contemporary environment which complements the ship’s surroundings. “The interiors of the ship will enable guests to unwind after the excitement of being absorbed in the rich local culture and visiting locations between Kampong Cham in Cambodia and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.” 

Built to accommodate 80 guests, Viking Saigon features 40 outside staterooms with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors which open onto verandas or French balconies. “The ship is very spacious and the public areas have been designed to maximise the spectacular views, offering every guest the best seat in the house,” says Seebacher. 

This attention to light and space stems from Viking’s Scandinavian heritage, which is reflected in a clean and minimalist design. “We have incorporated some local design elements including parquet wood flooring and rich, earthy tones, as well as locally sourced timber which has been used in the wall panelling, light fixtures and furniture,” says Seebacher. “To complement the tropical environment Viking Saigon will be sailing in, we have also incorporated local flora and hanging garden-style décor. All of this gives Viking Saigon a unique ambience, whilst staying true to our design ethos.” 

To realise this, Viking has built on its long-standing collaboration with US-based Rottet Studio and SMC Design in London, UK. “Our chairman Torstein Hagen admires Scandinavian design and has a clear vision for all of our ships,” says Seebacher. “These designers have delivered on this and brought the same understated elegance and comfortable design to the new vessel.” 

While this understated elegance is part of Viking Saigon’s uncluttered and restful appearance, the ship will also offer some real luxuries.  

“The infinity pool with its great position on the back of the ship will certainly be a popular spot for all our guests,” says Seebacher. “Due to its proximity to the shore and water level, guests will feel immersed in the local countryside whilst enjoying a refreshing dip. It will be an unmissable experience, especially when the ship sails through the narrower river sections in the jungle.” 

However, Seebacher has another favourite space onboard.  

The Sky Bar is the best place on the ship to spend time with friends and enjoy a drink or snack,” he says. “Viking Saigon will sail throughout the year due to the warm climates in the region. I am sure that guests will want to spend as much time as possible outside on this beautiful deck, taking in not only the varied and interesting landscapes of Vietnam and Cambodia as they travel along the Mekong, but also the sights and sounds of life along the riverbanks. Add in a beautiful sunset and I can’t think of a more magical travel experience.” 

This article was first published in the 2021 issue of Cruise & Ferry Interiors. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. 

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Elly Yates-Roberts
By Elly Yates-Roberts
16 July 2021

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