Viking announced Tuesday that it will restart limited operations in May with three special sailings along the coast of England. Available exclusively for U.K. residents, the new eight-day ocean itinerary, "England’s Scenic Shores,” will sail roundtrip from Portsmouth, with departures on May 22, May 29 and June 5, 2021.
Guests on the “England’s Scenic Shores” itinerary will be among the first to sail on board Viking’s newest ocean ship, Viking Venus, which will be delivered in April. Pre-registration for the voyage is currently open only to Viking’s past guests; more details about the voyages will be released—and reservations will be available to all U.K. residents—in due course, the cruise line said.
Viking says the update about the official restart was triggered because the U.K. government recently signaled that it would allow the resumption of domestic cruises beginning in May 2021. All other previously scheduled Viking sailings through May 31, 2021 remain cancelled.
“We welcome the U.K. government’s support for the return of safe domestic cruises as an important component in the travel industry’s recovery,” said Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking, in a press statement.
He added: “We are in a position to restart operations quickly and to start sailing again in May because we have kept our ships crewed during warm lay-up throughout the past 12 months. We have been implementing our additional protocols, including daily quick and easy non-invasive saliva PCR tests for our crew, for almost six months now.”
Those who sail these new voyages will also experience Viking’s health and safety program. The “Viking Health & Safety Program” was developed in partnership with an international team of medical advisors, including Raquel C. Bono, M.D., Viking’s Chief Health Officer. Utilizing a full-scale laboratory installed on every Viking ocean ship, all guests and crew will receive daily quick and easy non-invasive saliva PCR tests. New air purification technology has also been installed on all Viking ships. And additional health checks, sanitization and physical distancing measures will provide further protection for Viking guests and crew at all points of the journey.
The cruise line also announced that it will name its new ship, Viking Venus, in the U.K. on May 17.