Viking Sky berthed in Tromsø harbour (Image: Viking Ocean Cruises)
Viking Cruises christened its third ocean cruise ship, Viking Sky, under the ‘midnight sun’ in Tromsø, located above the Arctic Circle on Norway’s northwest coast.
Upon arriving in Tromsø harbour on 21 June, Viking Sky was greeted by water cannons from Norwegian redningsskøyten boats, music from local bands and Tromsø residents. The 930-guest vessel was positioned in the harbour adjacent to a temporary stage that hosted a public concert with performances from various Norwegian musicians, including Arctic Philharmonic, Lisa Stokke, Violet Road, Sara Marielle Gaup Beaska and Jørn Hoel.
Marit Barstad, sister of Viking chairman Torstein Hagen, served as ceremonial godmother and offered a blessing of good fortune and safe sailing for Viking Sky. In a nod to her mother’s and Viking’s Norwegian heritage, Barstad broke a bottle of Gammel Opland aquavit, rather than the traditional champagne, against the ship’s hull. To honour the original Viking explorers, she used a replica of a gilded Viking axe artefact discovered near Tromsø to cut the cord for the aquavit. The chopping block was from the Rotnes Farm in Nittedal where Barstad grew up.
“This is a special time of year in Norway – these are the days of the midnight sun and the perfect backdrop for a celebration,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. “All of our ships proudly carry the Norwegian flag, and it is an especially proud day to officially welcome our new ship in Tromsø, the arctic capital of the world. Vikings were explorers, and our ships are built with their spirit of exploration in mind. We design every aspect of our ships and cruises so that our guests can spend more time immersed in their destination.”
Immediately following the christening, Viking Sky set sail from Tromsø with a convoy of small boats and fishing vessels to spend the longest day of the year in Nordkapp (North Cape). Onboard the ship, guests were treated to a special christening dinner with Norwegian delicacies and musical performances by Lisa Stokke, Tor Jaran Apold and Mari Boine.
Viking Sky will now spend the summer season sailing Viking’s popular itineraries in Scandinavia and the Baltic.
Joining Viking Sea and Viking Star, Viking Sky is the third of eight ocean cruise ships currently planned for the fleet. The fourth and fifth ships, Viking Sun and Viking Spirit, will be delivered in September 2017 and 2018, respectively. By 2019 Viking will welcome its sixth ship and will become the largest small ship ocean cruise line. Two additional ships are on order for delivery in 2021 and 2022.
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