Viking Cruises and China Merchants Shekou Industrial Zone Holdings announced a joint venture cruise line that is focused on mid-sized luxury cruise products and will be the first entry of China into high-end upmarket cruising.
The new brand company is scheduled to launch in 2021 offering high-end domestic sea cruises with destination experiences. Under the new agreement, the 928-passenger Viking Sun will be transferred to the joint venture. The vessel will be registered/flagged in China to qualify for the Chinese coasting trade.
Viking Sun will be transformed to “organically integrate simple Nordic style with Chinese culture, to provide a high-end cruise travel experience and exclusive services.”
The new cruise line plans to provide in-depth cruisetours themed on China's history, nature, traditions, food.
Viking Cruises first introduced river cruises in Europe on boats dedicated to Chinese travellers. Several Chinese institutions have helped fund the company's growth.
Popular as one of the pioneers that developed the river cruise shipping in Europe, in 2015 Viking launched its first ocean ship (Viking Star) and since then has a fleet of 6 ocean liners and another 12 on order.
In November 2020, Viking Cruises announced additional investments from its minority shareholders (TPG Capital and CPP Investments /Canada Pension Plan Investment Board) that will result in ~USD 500 million of net proceeds being available to support Viking in its continued development.