Viking’s Newest Ship Named By Astronaut
Viking held a ceremony on Sunday in Los Angeles to celebrate the official naming of its newest ocean ship, Viking Neptune. Godmother Nicole Stott, a retired NASA astronaut, aquanaut, and artist, blessed the ship for safe sailing. After the ceremony, Viking Neptune left Los Angeles for Honolulu.
The ship is in the middle of the 2022-2023 Viking World Cruise, a 138-day voyage that departed from Fort Lauderdale and sailed west where passengers visit 28 countries, 57 ports, and 11 overnight stays in various cities before arriving in London.
The naming ceremony coincides with a prosperous time for Viking, with the launch of their 25th Anniversary Sale on January 1, 2023, which led to the highest number of bookings in a single week in the cruise line’s history.
“Today is a proud day for the entire Viking family as we name our newest ocean ship in Los Angeles, the home of Viking’s U.S. office for more than 20 years,” says Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen. “Viking Neptune is a ship named for both the furthest planet in our solar system and the god of the sea — and our newest Viking godmother, Nicole Stott, as a NASA astronaut and aquanaut, also has connections to space and the sea. We are grateful for her many contributions to the scientific community and are proud to have her as part of the Viking family.”
Says Scott: “It is an honor and privilege to be the godmother of the new Viking Neptune. As someone who has been blessed to explore space, the ocean, and some of the otherworldly places on our planet, I understand the importance of broadening one’s horizons through travel. I am very excited for all those who journey around the world on this elegant vessel.”
Stott used a historic Viking broadaxe to cut the ribbon that allowed the bottle to break on the ship’s hull. Before the ceremony, the axe was given to Stott by the godmother of Viking Jupiter, Norwegian soprano Sissel Kyrkjebø, who had used it at her naming ceremony in January 2020. Guests at the new ceremony also got to enjoy performances from Kyrkjebø and Norwegian violinist Tor Jaran Apold.
Nicole Stott and Her Many Titles
Nicole Stott is a veteran NASA astronaut who has spent 104 days living and working on space shuttles and the International Space Station. She was the first person to fly the robotic arm to capture the free-flying HTV cargo vehicle, performed one spacewalk, and was a member of the final flight crew of Space Shuttle Discovery, STS-133. Stott also lived in the Aquarius Undersea Habitat for 18 days as a NASA aquanaut.
Along with wearing many other hats, Stott is the author of Back to Earth: What Life In Space Taught Me About Our Home Planet – And Our Mission To Protect It and painted the first watercolor painting in space. As a co-founder of the Space for Art Foundation, Stott aims to inspire children through the wonder of space and the inspiring nature of art.
The newest ship in the Viking Ocean fleet, Viking Neptune is nearly identical to sister ships Viking Star, Viking Sea, Viking Sky, Viking Orion, Viking Jupiter, Viking Venus, and Viking Mars. Viking’s ocean-going ships have an occupancy of 930 guests in 465 staterooms. All the ships feature Scandinavian design, emphasizing veranda staterooms, an open concept, and alfresco dining choices.
However, Viking Neptune stands out. Equipped with a small hydrogen fuel system, Viking Neptune is the cruise industry’s first ship to test the use of a hydrogen power source for onboard operations. Viking plans to study the ship to see how hydrogen fuel can impact the power sources in the company’s future newbuilds.
The line is already planning to welcome another new ship this April, Viking Saturn.
Viking’s 25th Anniversary Sale will last until January 31, 2023, offering guests a $25 deposit, various savings, and up to free international airfare on river, ocean, and expedition voyages. Visit Viking’s website or contact a travel agent for more details.