A star is born. Viking Star — the first ship for the new Viking Ocean Cruises line — was welcomed home to Borgen, Norway, at the end of her maiden voyage. The sleek 930-passenger “small ship” was christened in a gala ceremony, honored as the first ship in a decade to usher in a new cruise line.
The citywide event happened in conjunction with Norwegian Constitution Day, and featured parades, parties and a public concert in the harbor, attended by some 20,000 well-wishers. They were treated to performances by world-renowned artists and musicians – all of whom have a personal connection to Bergen – including Norwegian soprano Sissel, actor Bjarte Hjelmeland, singer-songwriter Sondre Lerche, acclaimed violinist Charlie Siem and comedy duo Ylvis.
Viking Star’s arrival marks the first time in 10 years that a Norwegian-flagged passenger cruise ship has chosen Norway’s second-largest city as its homeport. The mayor of Bergen, Trude Drevland, served as ceremonial godmother and offered a blessing of good fortune and safe sailing for Viking Star – a naval tradition that dates back thousands of years. “We believe the arrival of Viking Star signals a new era in destination-focused cruising, and I could not be more proud that she will call my favorite city in the world ‘home,’” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. “This is a ship that was built for exploration and designed with our Scandinavian heritage in mind, and our guests will experience it from the moment they step onboard.”
Viking Star’s christening was the culmination of a maiden voyage that began April 11 when the ship set sail from Istanbul. Over the last five weeks, she made stops in what will be regular ports across the Mediterranean and Western Europe, including Athens, Santorini, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Venice, Barcelona, Seville (Cadiz), Gibraltar, Lisbon, Paris (Rouen) and London.
Following the concert, christening ceremony, and a fireworks display, Viking Star set sail on a voyage to Oslo and from there will continue on to Copenhagen, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Helsinki and Stockholm. Viking Star is one of three ocean cruise ships on order; two additional ships, Viking Sea and Viking Sky, are currently under construction. www.vikingoceancruises.com