Viking Ocean Cruises has announced that its third ship, Viking Sky, was officially christened during a public celebration in Tromsø, Norway.
Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises, said: “This is a special time of year in Norway – these are the days of the Midnight Sun and the perfect backdrop for a celebration. All of our ships proudly carry the Norwegian flag, and it is an especially proud day to officially welcome our new ship in Tromsø, the arctic capital of the world.
“Vikings were explorers, and our ships are built with their spirit of exploration in mind. We design every aspect of our ships and cruises so that our guests can spend more time immersed in their destination. Scandinavia is Viking territory, but as we continue to expand our fleet, we also look forward to introducing new travellers to the Viking way of travel around the world.”
Located above the Arctic Circle on Norway’s northwest coast, Tromsø is a popular destination for viewing the Northern Lights – and a key port of call on Viking’s popular Into the Midnight Sun itinerary, which sails between Bergen and London, allowing guests to explore the northern-most reaches of Scandinavia.
The 930-guest, 47,800-ton Viking Sky navigated into Tromsø harbour this morning, where it received a warm welcome with co-ordinated water cannons from Norwegian redningsskøyten boats, music from local bands and flag-waving Tromsø residents.
After arriving today in Tromsø, Viking Sky was positioned in the harbour adjacent to a concert stage constructed specifically for the celebration. Viking guests and residents of Tromsø were treated to a public concert, with performances from a variety of Norwegian musicians – including Arctic Philharmonic, Lisa Stokke, Violet Road, Sara Marielle Gaup Beaska and Jørn Hoel.
During Viking Sky’s christening ceremony, Marit Barstad, sister of Viking Chairman Mr Hagen, served as ceremonial godmother and offered a blessing of good fortune and safe sailing for Viking Sky – a naval tradition that dates back thousands of years.
Several elements of the christening ceremony paid homage to the Norwegian heritage of both the company and godmother. Instead of champagne for the traditional bottle-breaking, Viking Sky was christened with a bottle of Gammel Opland aquavit, which hails from the same county in Norway where Torstein and Marit’s mother, Ragnhild – also lovingly known as “Mamsen” – was born.
Mamsen’s, the Norwegian deli onboard Viking Sky, was also named after Ragnhild, and Gammel Opland was her favorite brand of aquavit. Additionally, in honour of the original Viking explorers, a gilded Viking axe was used to cut the cord for the aquavit christening. The particular axe used is a replica of a gilded Viking axe artifact discovered near Tromsø. Also, the chopping block used for the ceremony was brought from the Rotnes Farm in Nittedal, where the godmother grew up.
Immediately following the christening, Viking Sky set sail from Tromsø with a convoy of small boats and fishing vessels to spend the longest day of the year in Nordkapp (North Cape). On board the ship, guests were also treated to a special christening dinner with Norwegian delicacies and musical performances by Lisa Stokke, Tor Jaran Apold and Mari Boine. The ship will now spend the summer season sailing Viking’s popular itineraries in Scandinavia and the Baltic.
For more information, visit vikingcruises.co.uk.