Viking Cruises's sixth ship—the 930-guest Viking Jupiter—celebrated its "float out" on Thursday, marking the first time that the ship touched water. Scheduled for delivery in early 2019, the arrival of Viking Jupiter will officially make Viking the largest small ship ocean cruise line in the industry, the cruise line said, only four years after launching its ocean business. Viking Jupiter will spend its inaugural season sailing itineraries in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe.
The traditional float out ceremony took place at the Fincantieri's Ancona shipyard on May 10. Keeping with maritime tradition, a madrina—a special woman of honor—assisted with the ceremony, first welding commemorative coins under the ship mast. Norwegian soprano Sissel Kyrkjebø, who has long been a cultural partner to Viking, served as Viking Jupiter's madrina.
Kyrkjebø welded a commemorative coin representing her birth year, as well as the birth years for Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen (1943) and Finse (2012), Hagen's "grand dog." A special coin, dated 1911, was also welded to represent Ragnhild "Mamsen" Hagen, the mother of Torstein Hagen and the woman after whom the onboard Norwegian deli Mamsen's is named. Kyrkjebø then cut a cord to allow water to begin flowing into the ship's building dock. Following a two-day process that will set Viking Jupiter afloat, the ship will then be moved to a nearby outfitting dock for final construction and interior build-out.
Viking's ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, have 465 staterooms and host 930 guests. Classified as a small ship, the all-veranda Viking Jupiter will join Viking's ocean fleet, which also includes Viking Star, Viking Sea, Viking Sky, and Viking Sun. Viking will welcome its fifth ship, Viking Orion, to the fleet in June 2018. Ten additional ships are also planned for delivery starting in 2021, which could bring Viking's ocean fleet to 16 ships by 2027.
This article originally appeared on www.travelagentcentral.com.