STX France SA received an order to build two luxury cruise ships from Viking Ocean Cruises, an affiliate of Viking River Cruises
. The vessels will be delivered in spring 2014 and spring 2015, respectively, and will be part of Viking's new Ocean Cruise brand. An option for a third ship is being considered. The vessels will be operated primarily on the Mediterranean seas and be dedicated mainly to Viking's US, British and Australian customers.
The vessels will measure 230 x 26.5, carrying 888 passengers in 444 cabins with a complement of 444 crew members.
The contract will represent about 2.5 million man-hours. Construction is expected to start in mid-September 2012 for the first vessel and in mid-September 2013 for the second vessel
. The contract is subject to financing.
Viking River Cruise currently operates a fleet of 23 river vessels, and has 8 river cruise vessels under construction. River cruising is destination oriented and the two ocean going vessels will similarly be designed with destination cruising in mind.