PHOTO: Viking Ocean Cruises' Viking Star and Viking Sea in Santorini, Greece. (photo courtesy of Viking Cruises)
Viking Ocean Cruises’ fleet of six planned ships has now become eight and possibly ten.
The line and Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri have signed a memorandum of agreement for two additional cruise ships, plus an option for two more. The next pair is set to launch in 2021 and 2022 respectively.
Pending final financing and other closing conditions, the two ships will come online after the already launched Viking Star, Viking Sea and Viking Sky. Viking Sun is next set to be introduced in late 2017 followed by Viking Spirit during 2018 and the sixth as-yet-unnamed one in 2019.
By then, Viking will be the largest small ship ocean cruise line.
"Our guests and the industry have spoken, and they love the ocean ships that we have built with Fincantieri. In our first year of operation we were named the World’s Best Cruise Line by Travel + Leisure, and we are proud of Viking’s dominance in Cruise Critic’s 2017 Cruisers’ Choice Awards, where we won 10 categories, including ‘Best Overall’ and ‘Best for First-Timers,’” said Torstein Hagen, in a press release.
“We set out to bring the destination back to cruising, and the cruising public has responded. These additional ships are needed to meet the demand we are experiencing. Once only known for being the leading river cruise line, we are now equally known for upscale, inclusive ocean cruise experiences.
"As we celebrate our 20th year of operation in 2017, we are pleased to continue innovating and to introduce even more guests to The Viking Way of exploration.”
According to the release and Cruise Industry News, it is anticipated that Viking will predominate the luxury ocean industry with a market share of 23.9 percent by 2020 on a per berth basis. It’s a statistic that will be further boosted by the extra ships through 2022.
READ MORE: What the Viking Ocean Cruises Expansion Could Mean for the Future
All the new ships will keep to the successful 47,800-ton, 930-guest design, complete with 465 all-veranda staterooms. Each will feature modern safety and “Safe return to port” systems while upholding the latest navigation standards.
"The extraordinary moment of the cruise sector is continuing, and with this announcement Fincantieri reaffirms its worldwide leadership in the segment. The series – which began with the Viking Star prototype – reaches eight ships with these additional units, with the possibility to further grow thanks to the expansion plans of this dynamic cruise company,” said Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, in a press release.
“As the worldwide river cruise leader, Viking decided to enter the ocean cruise segment with a startup together with Fincantieri as shipbuilder, achieving great success. We can but consider this agreement as a strategic and commercial success, which allows us to further strengthen our already excellent partnership with Viking Ocean Cruises."