The vessel arrived to Manhattan Cruise Terminal Thursday afternoon, where company chairman Torstein Hagen hosted media and other invited guests aboard. The vessel left Friday for San Juan, Puerto Rico, and will sail 11-night itineraries from San Juan through February, when it returns to Europe for Mediterranean sailings.
"We're proud," Hagen said of the company, which began in 1997 with river ships and expanded to oceans with the launch of Viking Star in 2015. Its second ship, Viking Sea is already sailing and four more vessels are set to launch before 2020.
Hagen hosted a ship tour, followed by a media briefing in which he talked about the company and its future. Among the bits of news Hagen revealed:
- Viking will sail Alaska itineraries beginning in summer 2018;
- Viking will sail to the Far East and Australia, beginning winter 2017;
- Viking Spirit, which will debut in June 2018, will sail a 93-day repositioning cruise from Aukland, New Zealand, to Vancouver, British Columbia.
- Viking has plans to add expedition vessels to its fleet, which includes 59 river cruise ships and will grow to six ocean ships by the end of 2020;
- Viking continues to work toward adding cruise ships on the Mississippi River, a process Hagen says has been slowed because of issues regarding the Jones Act, a regulation that imposes restrictions on where ships that sail solely in America are built and how they are staffed. Hagen says they have a potential solution, but didn't provide further detail.