Arriving in Ancona, Italy, I was greeted by a most beautiful sight, our new ship the Viking Sea.
You see, I have the special privilege of being her godmother. Stepping aboard, it was exciting to see the progress that’s been made as Viking Sea was prepared for the float out. This is the next major construction milestone after the Key Lane. Viking Sea is our second ocean ship and she carries the same innovative features and clean lines that have set our vessels apart. Finally at 11:30 a.m. after an enthusiastic blessing of the crowd and the Viking Sea, it was time for the float out ceremony, a tradition that dates all the way back to the Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians.
Firstly on behalf of Viking and our chairman Torstein Hagen, my father, we would like to thank Mr. Staconi and his wonderful team for the building of this magnificent ship. I would also like to thank our Viking team, Jeff Dash and John Risen, for realizing the Great Ocean Project led by Islan Le Marie and Richard Goodwin.
Secondly I would like to let you all know what an important ship this is for me. This morning we wielded four coins under her mast in the maritime tradition and these four coins represent four generations of our family and I say that with a smile and you’ll understand why.
The first coin was from 1911, representing my beloved grandmother, my nana. The second coin is from 1943, representing my father, the chairman of Viking Cruises. The third coin is my coin and the fourth is 2012, representing my little girl Finsa Makani. So we have four coins representing four generations of our family and from today onwards a part of our spirit will be sailing with Viking Sea. I only ask that you take good care of her until she has her first sail out from which day onwards of course it’s up to our great captain Guleg Svalesberg to sail her onwards into the future. Thank you very much. And just like that the moment we’d all been waiting for had arrived.
With one chop another chapter in the Viking story began. The waters of the Adriatic poured in and we all watched in awe as the dry dock quickly filled, allowing Viking Sea to float for the very first time. Then finally she was away, moving gently out of the dry dock into open water. There, flanked by a fleet of tug boats, Viking Sea performed a graceful pirouette in Ancona’s turquoise waters before heading for her new dock where she’ll be prepared for the sea trials.
It was a wonderful celebration and I so enjoyed meeting the people whose extraordinary efforts at every level have helped us create this distinctive and beautiful ship. Together we make quite a team. Viking Sea is a remarkable vessel and she remains on track for her launch in 2016.