Viking Ocean Cruises today announced its first ship – the 930-passenger Viking Star – was "floated out," marking the latest major construction milestone, and the first time that the new ship touches water.
The traditional ceremony took place on Monday, June 23, at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard outside Venice, Italy. With a total of three sister ships now under construction, Viking Star will be the first to debut in early 2015 with maiden voyages in Scandinavia and the Baltic; and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean.
"Today is a proud day for our entire Viking family, as we are one step closer to launching a new era of ocean cruising," Viking Cruises Chairman Torstein Hagen said at the ceremony. "Viking Star's maiden season was sold out before she even touched water, which just demonstrates how enthusiastic our guests are for destination-focused ocean cruises. It is this enthusiasm that has led us to place orders for two additional sister ships, Viking Sea and Viking Sky."
According to Italian shipbuilding tradition, a float out ceremony is significant because it denotes a ship moving into its final stage of construction. Viking Star's float out began at approximately 10:30 a.m. local time, when a "madrina" – a woman of honor – cut a cord to allow water to begin flowing into the ship's building dock. Following a two-day process that will set Viking Star afloat, she will then be moved to a nearby outfitting dock for final construction and interior build-out.