Viking Cruises has announced that former NASA astronaut Dr. Anna Fisher will be honored as godmother to its fifth ocean ship, Viking Orion, set to debut in July 2018. The new ship is named after the prominent constellation and in honor of Dr. Fisher’s contributions to NASA’s Orion exploration vehicle project.
The announcement was first made by Viking Chairman, Torstein Hagen, during a press conference in New York City celebrating the first call in Manhattan for the company’s third ship, Viking Sky.
“The spirit of exploration is at the heart of everything we do, and so I am especially proud that an astronaut will be honored as godmother to our new ship,” says Hagen. “Dr. Fisher is a past Viking guest, a fellow scientist and a true explorer. As one of the first women in space, she has inspired generations of curious minds, and I look forward to welcoming guests onboard Viking Orion to learn more about her impressive career in space exploration.”
Last week, Viking Orion reached an important construction milestone when the ship met water for the first time during the float out ceremony at Fincantieri’s Ancona shipyard. Keeping with maritime tradition, Dr. Fisher, the godmother of the ship, assisted with the ceremony by welding coins under the ship's mast. The coins she welded represented her birth year, as well as the birth year of Chairman Hagen.
The layout and design of the ship will be identical to the previous four ocean ships. The reasoning behind this, Hagen says, is so that guests and staff know what to expect when they step aboard, making their experience seamless. Viking Orion will have sister ships debuting in 2019, 2020 and 2021; all of which have yet to be named. Viking has an option to add two more ocean ships to its deal with Fincantieri, bringing the total to 10. Hagen says that 20 ocean ships is not out of the question (he also says a goal of 100 river cruises is achievable; currently Viking sits at 44).
The Orion will spend her maiden years sailing itineraries in the Mediterranean, before making her way to Asia, Australia, and then Alaska. The ship will accommodate 930 guests and offer the experiences and facilities that all Viking ships are known for, including all Veranda staterooms, Explorer Suites, two pool choices, LivNordic Spa, and fine dining options.