Located above the Arctic Circle on Norway’s northwest coast, Tromsø is a popular destination for viewing the northern lights – and a key port of call on Viking’s popular ‘Into the Midnight Sun’ itinerary, which sails between Bergen and London, allowing guests to explore the northern-most reaches of Scandinavia. Viking Cruises announced recently that its third ship, the Viking Sky, was officially christened during a public celebration in Tromsø, Norway.
Viking’s ocean ships are classified as ‘small ships’ by Cruise Critic and as the 930-guest, 47,800-ton ‘Viking Sky’ navigated into the Tromsø harbour this, she received a warm welcome with co-ordinated water cannons from Norwegian ‘redningsskøyten’ boats, music from local bands and flag-waving Tromsø residents.
“This is a special time of year in Norway – these are the days of the midnight sun and the perfect backdrop for a celebration. 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,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises.
“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. Scandinavia is Viking territory, but as we continue to expand our fleet, we also look forward to introducing new travellers to the Viking way of travel around the world.”
After arriving in Tromsø, Viking Sky was moored in the harbour adjacent to a concert stage constructed specifically for the celebration. Guests and residents of Tromsø were treated to a public concert, with performances from a variety of Norwegian musicians – including the Arctic Philharmonic, Lisa Stokke, Violet Road, Sara Marielle Gaup Beaska and Jørn Hoel. During the christening ceremony, Marit Barstad, sister of Torstein Hagen, served as ceremonial godmother and offered a blessing of good fortune and safe sailing for Viking Sky – a naval tradition that dates back thousands of years.
Several elements of the christening ceremony paid homage to the Norwegian heritage of both the company and godmother. Instead of champagne for the traditional bottle breaking, Viking Sky was christened with a bottle of Gammel Opland aquavit, which hails from the same county in Norway where Torstein and Marit’s mother, Ragnhild – also known as ‘Mamsen’ – was born.
Additionally, in honour of the original explorers, a gilded Viking axe was used to cut the cord for the aquavit christening. Immediately following the christening, the ship 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 enjoyed a special christening dinner with Norwegian delicacies and musical performances by Lisa Stokke, Tor Jaran Apold and Mari Boine. The ship will now spend the summer season sailing Viking’s popular itineraries in Scandinavia and the Baltic.
The company’s ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, have 465 cabins and accommodate 930 passengers. 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, are under construction and 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.
For additional information visit the company at: www.vikingcruises.co.uk