PORT ST. MAARTEN – Viking Ocean Cruises cruise ship Viking Sun on a 245-day world cruise, made its inaugural port call on Sunday, October 20. This is the first inaugural call for the 2019-2020 cruise season.
Captain Lars Kjeldsen was welcomed by Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Stuart Johnson and a delegation from Port St. Maarten along with some invited guests during the official welcome plaque exchange ceremony onboard the vessel.
Johnson welcomed the Viking Sun on behalf of the Government and people of St. Maarten and wished the Captain Kjeldsen, guests and crew a wonderful day on the ‘Friendly Island.’
The Viking Sun started sailing in November 2017 and has a length of 745 feet and a beam of 94.5 feet, gross tonnage of 47,800; and carries 930 passengers and 550 crew members.
The vessel was in port with 780 passengers and 460 crew. The vessel was in St. Kitts prior to its arrival at Port St. Maarten and its next port of call is Tortola on its journey to Los Angeles as its final port call for its 2019 world cruise. The 249-day cruise initially started out of London, United Kingdom.
Viking Cruises, is considered the leader in river and small ship ocean cruising, offers destination-focused itineraries designed for experienced travelers who have an interest in geography, culture and history.
In its first year of operation, Viking Ocean Cruises was rated the #1 ocean cruise line in Travel + Leisure’s 2016 “World’s Best” Awards, which came on the heels of being rated the highest of all cruise lines in the 2015 “World’s Best” Awards.
Viking currently operates a fleet of 61 vessels, offering scenic cruising along the rivers and oceans of the Americas, Europe, Russia, Egypt, China, and Southeast Asia. By 2019 the company will operate six 930-passenger ocean cruise ships and will sail itineraries in Scandinavia and the Baltic, the Western and Eastern Mediterranean, Asia, Australia, North America and the Caribbean.
Viking Ocean Cruises has ordered 10 additional ships which are planned for delivery starting in 2021, which could bring Viking’s ocean fleet to 16 ships by 2027.
Viking was founded in 1997 with the purchase of four ships in Russia. In 2000, the company purchased Europe’s KD River Cruises in order to grow its fleet, to leverage 40 years of river cruising experience and to acquire rights to prime docking locations in key European cities.
The company expanded into the American market in 2000, establishing US headquarters in Los Angeles, California. Through rapid expansion, the company has grown to be The World’s Leading River Cruise Line, with double-digit growth in recent years. And with the launch of its ocean fleet in 2015, the company has also become the leader in small ship ocean cruising.
With operational headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, Viking provides destination-focused itineraries designed for experienced travelers.
In 2015, Viking introduced its first ocean ship with the christening of the 930-guest all-veranda Viking Star. One year later, Viking launched its second ocean ship, Viking Sea, which was joined in 2017 by sister ships Viking Sky and Viking Sun. In 2018, the fleet welcomed Viking Orion and an additional sister ship in 2019, Viking Jupiter, making Viking the largest small ship ocean cruise line. Two more yet-to-be-named ships are scheduled to launch by 2022.
The company’s award-winning ships are engineered at a size that allows direct access into most ports, so guests have easy and efficient embarkation and disembarkation. Each ship boasts a private veranda in every stateroom, a choice of restaurants offering a variety of fine dining options, the most al fresco dining at sea, an infinity pool, a Nordic-inspired spa, panoramic Explorers’ Lounge and thoughtfully curated book collections throughout the ship, and more—all designed in understated elegance.
L to R: Minister Stuart Johnson presenting a plaque to Captain Lars Kjeldsen during the plaque exchange ceremony onboard the Viking Sun.