Viking Christens Newest Ocean Ship in New York

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Viking celebrated the christening of its 10th ocean-going cruise ship, Viking Saturn, during a culturally-rich ceremony in New York Harbor. The festivities featured performers from the Metropolitan Opera, a fitting tribute since the ship’s godmother serves as chairman of the renowned opera company.

Ceremony’s VIP Guests Enjoy Opera Performances

Viking, the Switzerland-based operator of ocean and river cruises, named its newest ship, Viking Saturn, on June 6 in New York. Built by the Fincantieri shipyard in Ancona, Italy, the ship joins nine other blue-water Viking vessels. The company is also well known for its many river itineraries aboard more than 80 ships.

Given Viking’s emphasis on cultural immersion cruising, it was no surprise that the line chose Ann Ziff, a philanthropist and chairman of the Metropolitan Opera, to serve as godmother of the 930-guest ship.

As part of the naming ceremony, Ziff used a steel sword from the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” to cut the ribbon that sent a bottle of Norwegian aquavit crashing against the ship’s hull.

Viking Saturn Christening
Viking Saturn Christening (Photo Courtesy: Viking)

“It is an honor to be godmother of the new Viking Saturn and celebrate this momentous occasion in New York. Viking and the Metropolitan Opera share a common goal in creating enriching experiences throughout the world and there is no doubt the Viking Saturn will do just that for her guests,” Ziff said at the ceremony.

The milestone event featured performances from soprano Sissel Kyrkjebø, who had served as godmother of the Viking Jupiter in 2019, and Norwegian violinist Tor Jaran Apold.

Guests enjoyed a dinner onboard the ship after the christening, followed by more performances of opera classics by the Metropolitan Opera’s Susanna Phillips, Charles Castronovo, and Quinn Kelsey.

Viking Saturn Cruise Ship
Viking Saturn Cruise Ship (Photo Courtesy: Viking Cruises)

Torstein Hagen, Viking chairman, said “This is a very proud day for Viking as we name our newest identical ocean ship in New York City, one of the great cultural capitals of the world. We thank Ann for her loyalty as a Viking guest, as well as her many impressive contributions to the arts and other important causes.”   

As part of its cultural offerings to guests, Viking ships offer the Metropolitan Opera’s award-winning Live in HD series, including an exclusive viewing of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.”

Other onboard cultural events include programs from Ballet Sun Valley, BBC, Highclere Castle, Los Angeles Philharmonic, PBS’ Masterpiece, and RHS Chelsea Flower Show, to name a few.

Viking Saturn will spend her inaugural season sailing two new Viking voyages: “Iconic Iceland, Greenland & Canada,” between New York City and Reykjavik, Iceland; and “Iceland & Norway’s Arctic Explorer,” between Reykjavik and Bergen, Norway. Both cruises are 15 days.

A Fleet of Identical Blue-Water Ships

All of Viking’s ocean ships are identical, except for its two Polar Class expedition vessels, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, which feature various environmental and operational systems purpose-built for polar regions.

Besides Viking Saturn, the company’s ocean cruise ships include Viking Star, Viking Sea, Viking Sky, Viking Sun, Viking Orion, Viking Jupiter, Viking Venus, Viking Mars, and Viking Neptune. All are 47,800 gross tons and offer 465 all-balcony staterooms.

Viking Saturn Cruise Ship
Viking Saturn Cruise Ship (Photo Courtesy: Viking Cruises)

The company is celebrating its 25th year of operations, and has seen record bookings in recent months. In fact, Viking in January 2023 experienced its best single month of bookings in its history.

Viking’s river cruise division, meanwhile, announced an industry-first in late May, revealing it will become the only line offering Europe river cruising on a year-round basis. River cruise lines typically do not offer winter season cruises in Europe, except for some limited Christmas market itineraries in December.

Starting in December 2023, Viking’s new “Treasures of the Rhine” voyage will sail between Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and Basel, Switzerland. The 10-day cruises will call at destinations such as Breisach, Germany, and Strasbourg, France.

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