Viking Cruises say that the keel has been ceremonially laid at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard outside Venice, Italy, for its first ocean cruise vessel, 'Viking Star'.
Steel was first cut for Viking Star in June 2013, and the laying of the keel is a formal recognition of the start of construction. The 930-passenger Viking Star features state-of-the-art design. The company informs that it will also launch a record-breaking 14 new river vessels – Viking Longships® – in March 2014.
"Our new ocean itineraries are selling at an unprecedented rate, and the enthusiasm we have seen from guests is truly remarkable," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. "There is undoubtedly interest in an ocean cruise experience that returns the focus to the destination, and Viking is actively planning to meet that demand."
The operators add that Viking Star's maiden voyages will be in Scandinavia, the Baltic, and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean. Classified by Cruise Critic as a "small ship," the all-veranda custom-designed vessel allows travelers to get closer than ever to their destinations with maximum time in ports, while highlighting history, art and local culture through privileged-access excursions and onboard experiences.