Singer Sissel Kyrkjebø, godmother Yi Lou, Viking chairman Torstein Hagen and the line's senior vice president Karine Hagen (Image: Viking Cruises)
Viking Cruises has made history by becoming the first to christen a cruise ship, Viking Sun, on The Bund, the famed waterfront area in central Shanghai, China.
Calling at Shanghai on 8 March as part of a 141-day world cruise between the US and the UK, Viking Sun is also the first of Viking’s ocean cruise ships to visit China.
Upon her arrival, the 930-guest vessel was greeted by local residents and invited dignitaries, before she berthed at the Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, adjacent to a concert stage constructed for her naming celebration.
Guests on Viking’s world cruise and invited international dignitaries watched as godmother Yi Lou, vice president of China Merchant Bank Financial Leasing, officially christened Viking Sun and cut a ribbon to break a bottle of Norwegian aquavit on the ship’s hull.
Guests also enjoyed a ceremony compered by Shanghai television personality Michelle Wang, which included performances from the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra and acclaimed Chinese operatic tenor Dai Yuqiang, as well as Norwegian crossover soprano Sissel Kyrkjebø. A projected animation was also depicted on an expansive wave-like screen built alongside the ship, which showcased the ancient silk trade that has formed a cultural bond between Norway and China.
“I am very pleased to officially name our newest ship in Shanghai. We care deeply about tourism in China, and we have been bringing river cruise guests here since 2004,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “China is the home of Viking Sun’s godmother, Yi Lou, and in the coming year, Shanghai will also welcome our fifth ship, Viking Orion. We look forward to introducing thousands of new travellers to the cultural treasures in Shanghai and throughout China.”
Viking Sun departed Shanghai on 9 March to continue her world cruise. After calling at destinations in Southeast Asia and India, the vessel will make her way through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean – essentially following the route of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The ship will conclude her voyage on 5 May 2018 in London, UK after visiting a total of 64 ports in 35 countries on five continents. Next year, Viking Sun will sail a 128-day world cruise from Miami, Florida to London.
Constructed by Italian shipyard Fincantieri, Viking Sun is the fourth 930-guest, 47,800gt small ship in Viking’s ocean fleet, which also includes Viking Star, Viking Sea and Viking Sky. Viking will also welcome Viking Orion in June 2018 and Viking Jupiter in 2019. The cruise line has also extended its shipbuilding contract with Fincantieri, which could see 10 additional ocean vessels being delivered between 2021 and 2027, bringing the fleet up to 16.
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