Viking's new ship Viking Orion will follow the line's latest ship Viking Sky, pictured here in Tromso
Viking’s new ship Viking Orion will follow the line’s latest ship Viking Sky, pictured here in Tromso

Viking Cruises has announced the name of its fifth ocean ship, Viking Orion, after the prominent constellation.

“Vikings were the original long-distance explorers and the first to use the stars and constellations as a way to navigate uncharted territory,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises.

“The spirit of exploration is at the heart of everything we do, and so I am especially proud that an astronaut will be honoured as godmother to our new ship.”

American chemist, emergency room physician and recently retired NASA astronaut Dr. Anna Fisher will be honoured as godmother to Viking’s fifth ocean ship for her contributions to NASA’s Orion exploration vehicle project. She is also one of the first women in space.

The announcement was first made by Hagen during a press conference in New York City celebrating the first call in Manhattan for the company’s third ship, Viking Sky.

He added: “Dr. Fisher is a past Viking guest, a fellow scientist and a true explorer. As one of the first women in space, she has inspired generations of curious minds, and I look forward to welcoming guests on board Viking Orion to learn more about her impressive career in space exploration.”

The 930-guest Viking Orion, which will debut in July 2018, reached a major construction milestone last week, when the ship met water for the first time during her “float out” ceremony at Fincantieri’s Ancona shipyard.

Viking Orion will spend its maiden year sailing itineraries in the Mediterranean, before making her way to Asia, Australia and then Alaska.