Viking Cruises today announced it has cut steel in the construction of its first ocean cruise vessel, Viking Star. The steel cutting took place at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard . TheStar is scheduled to be delivered in early 2015, with maiden voyages beginning in April 2015.

“This is a big step towards realizing our ocean cruising plans,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. “With our new ocean cruises, we are applying the same principles behind our river cruises—small, intimate ships with destination-focused itineraries that allow guests to experience privileged access excursions and onboard cultural experiences.”   

The ship was designed by experienced nautical architects and engineers, including London-based SMC Design and Los Angeles-based Rottet Studios. At 47,800 tons, she will have 464 cabins and accommodate 928 guests. The Star is the first of two ocean ships on order; both will be built by Fincantieri.

Itineraries for maiden voyages starting in April 2015 include cruising in Scandinavia and the Baltic; and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean. According to Viking, guests will experience cruising with destination as the focus, maximum time in port and an onboard cultural enrichment program ideal for an experienced traveler with an interest in history, art and culture.

The company has aggressive expansion plans in both the ocean and river cruise categories, with a second ocean ship on order for delivery in 2016 and with conditional orders and options for four more additional ocean vessels. The ocean ship order follows the company’s continued rapid fleet expansion in the river cruise sector, with 10 new Viking Longships christened in 2013 and 12 new Viking Longships planned to launch in 2014.