Celebrations kick off as new ocean ship Viking Venus sails into Portsmouth on her maiden call
Viking® (www.viking.com) is heralding the arrival in the UK of its newest ocean ship, Viking Venus®, after she sailed into Portsmouth for her maiden call at 7am this morning. Delivered in April 2021 at Fincantieri’sshipyard in Ancona, Italy, Viking Venus is the newest vessel to join Viking’s ocean fleet of identical sister ships, which also includes Viking Star®, Viking Sea®, Viking Sky®, Viking Orion® and Viking Jupiter®. Classified by Cruise Critic as “small ships,” Viking’s ocean vessels have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons and with 465 all veranda staterooms that accommodate 930 guests, the ships feature clean, minimalist Scandinavian design, airy public spaces filled with natural light and abundant al fresco dining options.
Viking’s Chairman, Torstein Hagen, who is on board Viking Venus, said:
‘We are delighted to be here. The UK government is leading the way with its sensible approach to the safe return of cruising and has helped us all put hope back on the horizon. Viking was the first cruise line to suspend operations in March 2020 and, after 14 months of keeping our ships in warm lay-up, we are looking forward to ushering in this new era. The arrival of Viking Venus into Portsmouth today is a reason to celebrate as we prepare to welcome UK guests on board from 22 May, after she has been named by her ceremonial godmother, Anne Diamond on 17 May, which is also Norwegian Constitution Day – an especially significant day for native Norwegians like myself.’
Wendy Atkin-Smith, Managing Director of Viking UK, said:
“The arrival of Viking Venus into the UK is a momentous occasion for us and marks a significant milestone as we look forward to welcoming back guests on our England’s Scenic Shores itineraries. As a proud seafaring nation it is fitting that the UK is where Viking will restart operations globally and, with its rich naval and shipbuilding history dating back more than 800 years, we are thrilled that Portsmouth is Viking Venus’maiden port of call, especially as it is the place Viking Venus will call home for the next two months.’
Mike Sellers, Director of Portsmouth International Port said:
‘We are honoured to host the global debut of Viking Venus, as the cruise line restarts operations and begins domestic passenger sailings. Everyone has been working incredibly hard throughout the pandemic, which is how we’ve been able to respond quickly to new health protocol measures and are ready to support travel as soon as restrictions allow. The sailings from Portsmouth are cruises around the UK and we have comprehensive plans in place to keep staff, passengers and the community safe, following the UK Chamber of Shipping Cruise Operations Framework. The cruise industry at large, and especially Viking, has also put huge amounts of consideration into making sure safety is paramount and I have been impressed by the detail and coordination, going above and beyond what’s required.’
Offered as part of Viking’s Welcome Back collection, the first three sailings of England’s Scenic Shores, which will sail roundtrip from Portsmouth calling at Liverpool, the Isles of Scilly, Falmouth and Portland, were fully booked within a week by Viking’s loyal past guests. Two additional sailings were since added to meet demand departing on 19 and 26 June, which are now bookable by all vaccinated UK residents. Viking also recently announced that Viking Venus and Viking Sea will homeport in the Maltese capital city of Valletta over the summer, sailing new Mediterranean itineraries, which will be available to UK guests as well as a new Iceland itinerary, subject to UK government guidelines on international travel. The company is actively working on developing additional Welcome Backitineraries in other destinations, with the goal of announcing further 2021 sailings as soon as government approvals are given. All of Viking’s new Welcome Back voyages are available exclusively for vaccinated guests, in accordance with local entry rules in many of the destinations that will welcome Viking ships.
Those who sail these new voyages will experience Viking’s industry-leading health and safety programme, which was designed to protect guests and crew even while the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is still moving forward. Grounded in scientific research, the Viking Health & Safety Programme was developed in partnership with an international team of medical advisors, including Raquel C. Bono, M.D., Viking’s Chief Health Officer. Dr. Bono is a board-certified trauma surgeon and retired Vice Admiral of the United States Navy Medical Corps—and most recently led Washington State’s medical and healthcare systems response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Utilising a full-scale laboratory installed on every Viking ocean ship, all guests and crew will receive frequent quick and easy non-invasive saliva PCR tests. New air purification technology has also been installed on all Viking ships, which have always featured independent air handling units for all guest staterooms. And additional health checks, sanitisation and physical distancing measures will provide further protection for Viking guests and crew at all points of the journey. A complete overview of the Viking Health & Safety Programme can be found at: www.viking.com/health-safety.
To celebrate the launch of Viking Venus a special episode following the ship’s journey will be broadcast on Viking.TV, Viking’s award-winning digital enrichment channel, at 7pm GMT on Monday 17 May followed by a week of exclusive programming, including Anne Diamond’s weekly livestream on Thursday 20 May. Access is free and open to all via https://viking.tv/
To make a booking or for more information call 0800 319 66 60 or go to www.viking.com