Viking Ocean Cruises today announced its fourth ship – the 930-passenger Viking Sun – was “floated out,” marking the major construction milestone, and the first time that the new ship touches water.
The traditional ceremony took place on December 15 at Fincantieri’s Ancona shipyard. Viking Sun will debut in late 2017 and will be marketed to travelers in North America, the U.K., Australia and New Zealand. The ship will begin her maiden season sailing voyages to Cuba and the Caribbean, before embarking on a 141-day World Cruise that spans 5 continents, 35 countries and 66 ports.
A float out ceremony is significant because it denotes a ship moving into its final stage of construction. Viking Sun’s float out began at approximately 10:30 a.m. local time, and in keeping with maritime tradition, a madrina – a special woman of honor – assisted with the ceremony, first welding coins under the ship mast.
As Viking Sun will be the company’s first ocean ship to call on China, Mrs. Yi Lou, Vice President of China Merchant Bank Financial Leasing (CMBFL), served as Viking Sun’s madrina. She welded commemorative coins representing her birth year, as well as the birth years of her parents. A special coin, dated 1911, was also welded to represent mother Ragnhild “Mamsen” Hagen, the mother of Viking’s Chairman and the woman after whom the onboard Norwegian deli Mamsen’s is named. Mrs. Lou then cut a cord to allow water to begin flowing into the ship’s building dock. Following a two-day process that will set Viking Sun afloat, she will then be moved to a nearby outfitting dock for final construction and interior build-out.
“It is always a proud moment for the entire Viking family when a new ship meets water for the first time,” Viking Cruises Chairman Torstein Hagen said at the ceremony. “CMBFL is an important partner, and we wanted to honor our relationship by naming one of their executives as madrina to our newest ship.”