Under a moonlit night sky in the shadow of the Vincent Thomas Bridge, all eyes turned to Viking’s newest ocean ship docked in the Port of Los Angeles. Cruise Addicts was honored to attend this ceremony and celebration as Viking named its newest and 8th ocean ship, the Viking Neptune®, on Sunday in Los Angeles.
As part of the event, the ship’s ceremonial godmother, Nicole Stott, retired NASA astronaut, aquanaut, and artist offered a blessing of good fortune and safe sailing for the ship. The traditional naming and launching ceremonies of ships dating back to the 3rd millennium BC to bring good luck and safety to the new ship, its crew, and the passengers she will carry.
Viking Neptune Naming Ceremony
The Viking Neptune arrived in Los Angeles early on January 8 and departed for Honolulu following the naming ceremony. The ship is currently sailing the 2022-2023 Viking World Cruise, an epic voyage from Fort Lauderdale to London that spans 138 days, 28 countries, and 57 ports, with overnight stays in 11 cities. The naming of the Viking Neptune also comes at a time of record sales for Viking, with the launch of Viking’s new 25th Anniversary Sale on January 1 resulting in the highest number of bookings in one week in the company’s history.
“Today is a proud day for the entire Viking family as we name our newest ocean ship in Los Angeles, the home of Viking’s U.S. office for more than 20 years,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “The Viking Neptune is a ship named for both the furthest planet in our solar system and the god of the sea—and our newest Viking godmother, Nicole Stott, as a NASA astronaut and aquanaut, also has connections to space and the sea. We are grateful for her many contributions to the scientific community and are proud to have her as part of the Viking family.”
“It is an honor and privilege to be the godmother of the new Viking Neptune. As someone who has been blessed to explore space, the ocean, and some of the otherworldly places on our planet, I understand the importance of broadening one’s horizons through travel. I am very excited for all those who journey around the world on this elegant vessel,” said Nicole Stott.
In keeping with the naming tradition, Nicole used a historic Viking broad axe during the ceremony to cut a ribbon that allowed a bottle of Norwegian aquavit to break on the ship’s hull. Before the ribbon cutting, the axe was presented to Nicole by Sissel Kyrkjebø, one of the world’s leading crossover sopranos and godmother of the Viking Jupiter®, who used it when naming her ship in January 2020. Event guests also enjoyed performances from Sissel and Norwegian violinist Tor Jaran Apold.
Godmother Nicole Stott
A veteran NASA astronaut, Nicole Stott’s experience includes two spaceflights and 104 days spent living and working in space on the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station (ISS). She has performed one space walk and was the first person to fly the robotic arm to capture the free-flying HTV cargo vehicle, the last crew member to fly to and from their ISS mission on a Space Shuttle, and a member of the final flight crew of Space Shuttle Discovery, STS-133. Nicole is also a NASA aquanaut who lived and worked on the Aquarius Undersea Habitat for 18 days.
She is the author of Back to Earth: What Life In Space Taught Me About Our Home Planet – And Our Mission To Protect It. Also an artist, Nicole painted the first watercolor painting in space—and is a co-founder of the Space for Art Foundation, which unites a planetary community of children through the awe and wonder of space exploration and the healing power of art. Through her work, Nicole inspires everyone’s appreciation of our role as crewmates here on “spaceship” Earth.
Viking Neptune Join’s Her Identical Sisters
The Viking Neptune is the newest ship in Viking’s award-winning ocean fleet of identical sister ships, which also includes the Viking Star®, the Viking Sea®, the Viking Sky®, the Viking Orion®, the Viking Jupiter®, the Viking Venus®, and the Viking Mars®. In April, Viking will also welcome another new ocean ship, the Viking Saturn®. Classified by Cruise Critic as “small ships,” Viking’s ocean vessels have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, with 465 staterooms that can host 930 guests; the ships feature all veranda staterooms, Scandinavian design, light-filled public spaces, and abundant al fresco dining options.
Hydrogen Fuel System Testing Onboard
Although identical to Viking’s other ocean ships, the Viking Neptune is uniquely equipped with a small hydrogen fuel system, making it the cruise industry’s first ship to test the use of hydrogen power for onboard operations. Viking is using the small system to test how hydrogen fuel could be used at a larger scale in future new builds.
Viking Growth & Domination
Since starting river cruises in Russia over twenty-five years ago, Viking has continued to grow at a remarkable pace. It now has over 100 ships across four product lines. Over 10,000 employees have generated 3 billion in revenue and an incredible annual growth rate of 19% over the past twelve years. The company has a loyal following, with fifty percent of past guests returning for more.
They have an award-winning product which repeatedly wins year after year. They dominate the river cruise market with an over fifty percent market share. Since introducing ocean cruise vessels in 2015, they now have the largest market share of the luxury ocean cruise market, with 26%. The Viking culture on the rivers, oceans, and expeditions has made this phenomenon possible. Guests enjoy the unique offerings and also what Viking doesn’t offer:
- No Children under 18
- No casinos
- No nickel and diming
- No charge for WI-FI
- No charge for beer & wine at lunch and dinner
- No charge for alternate restaurants
- No inside staterooms
- No charge for the use of the laundrette (detergent also included)
- No formal nights, butlers, or white gloves
- No umbrella drinks
The inclusiveness of their cruises lets passengers know what is and is not included upfront. Further, Viking chooses not to “nickel and dime” its guests. This allows guests to relax and not worry about what hidden or extra costs may be added. It prides itself on delivering travel experiences that are uniquely designed for its guests:
- Small Ships
- Destination Focused
- Understated elegance
- Quite and calm
- All English-speaking
- Family feeling among staff
- Extensive enrichment
- All Inclusive
How Can You Get Onboard
From now through January 31, 2023, Viking is offering a 25th Anniversary Sale, with a $25 deposit, special savings, and up to free international airfare on river, ocean and expedition voyages. Call Viking toll free at 1-855-8-VIKING (1-855-884-5464) or contact a travel agent for details.