A major milestone for Viking Cruises’ move into ocean-going cruise ships, as opposed to the river cruise vessels it has operated hitherto, was marked on 23 June, when their inaugural cruise ship, the 930-passenger Viking Star (pictured), was floated out. The ceremony took place at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard outside Venice. With three sisterships being built, the 47,800gt Viking Star debuts in early 2015 with maiden voyages in Scandinavia, the Baltic, and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean, and has two new British itineraries for 2016 .

Viking Ocean Cruises will be the first major ocean line to debut in nearly a decade, having been a leader in river cruising for many years. The company’s fast-growing Viking River Cruises line operates more than 50 vessels, including 18 new ships christened earlier this year. The company has 12 river ships on order for 2015.

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