Viking has named its newest ocean ship, Viking Venus, as it prepares to return to service after 14 months of paused operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
British journalist and broadcaster Anne Diamond was revealed as the ship’s ceremonial godmother at the intimate naming event on May 17. She gave the Venus a traditional naval blessing for safe sailing and broke a bottle of Norwegian aquavit on the ship’s hull, using a historic Viking broad axe to cut the ribbon holding it in place.
A small group of guests was then treated to a scenic sailing along the coast of England to a soundtrack of recorded classical concerts.
On Saturday, May 22, the Viking Venus will depart from Portsmouth for the first of five roundtrip Welcome Back sailings in England. Over eight days, the voyages will take in Liverpool, the Isles of Scilly, Falmouth and Portland. Anne Diamond will join the first three to deliver lectures on British radar inventors, which will then be available on the onboard entertainment service, Viking.TV.
Following these inaugural England’s Scenic Shores sailings, the Venus will sail to Malta. From there, it will continue its Welcome Back sailings with ocean voyages in the Mediterranean this summer and autumn. Solely for vaccinated guests, the schedule so far includes sailings to Iceland and Bermuda. It will be announced in full later in 2021, after government approvals are given.
Viking Venus is the newest vessel to join Viking’s ocean fleet of five other ‘small ships’, as classified by Cruise Critic. With 465 rooms to accommodate 930 guests, the ships have outdoor dining options and Scandinavian design touchpoints. To protect against Covid-19, all ships are fitted with new air purification technology. Frequent PCR tests will be available and physical distancing measures will be taken on each cruise.
“When we became the first cruise line to suspend operations in March 2020, we certainly did not know it would be 14 months before guests would be welcomed back on board.” said Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking. “Now, we are among the first to set sail again – and with our industry-leading health and safety protocols in place, we believe there is no safer way to travel the world than on a Viking voyage.”