Viking River Cruises orders two ocean vessels
Viking River Cruises has surprised the industry again by moving into ocean cruising, with two 888-pax luxury ships on the way.
Shipbuilder STX France has received an order to build two 444-cabin ocean-going vessels for a new affiliate of Viking River Cruises called Viking Ocean Cruises. STX announced today that the ships will be delivered separately in the first half of 2014 and 2015, with construction on the first one to start in September 2012.
An option for a third ship is also being considered.
Both ships will accommodate 888 passengers, 444 crew and measure 230 metres in length. The vessels are expected to operate primarily in the Mediterranean and be targeted at the line’s Australian, American and British clients.
According to STX, the contract, which represents about 2.5 million man-hours at France’s St. Nazaire shipyard, is subject to financing.
“We are proud to have been selected by Viking to build their new series of ships and delighted to contribute to their expansion into a new market,” said Jacques Hardelay, general manager of STX France, in a statement.
STX France has previously built vessels for major lines including MSC Cruises and Hapag Lloyd and recently cancelled a contract to build a Libyan cruise ship for General National Maritime Transport Company after funding fell through.
Viking currently operates 23 vessels in Europe, Asia and Egypt, and has a further six river ships under construction.
Earlier this year, the line revealed an unprecedented four new builds will debut in Europe in March 2012 and then beat its own industry record by announcing another two. In total, the company plans to undertake several complete refurbishments and introduce 10 new longships by 2014, reinforcing its position as the world’s largest river cruise line.
This latest move will see two ocean vessels added to the ever-expanding fleet.
It is understood the ocean vessels will similarly be designed with destination cruising in mind.
Source: Cruise Weekly, 22 December 2011