Viking Orders Six Ocean Ships – Other Cruise News: Ponant Orders Two More Explorers – Star Order To Go To Dream Cruises

by Kevin Griffin

Eight more cruise ships were ordered last week, bringing the total now on order to 100 according to Seatrade Cruise News. Viking Cruises ordered six 930-berth ocean-going cruise ships from Fincantieri for delivery between 2024 and 2027. In addition, Ponant ordered two more of its 184-berth “Explorer” class expedition ships for delivery in 2020. And Genting Hong Kong meanwhile announced the move of its first “Global” class cruise ship order from Star Cruises to its more upmarket Dream Cruises brand.

THIS WEEK’S STORY

Viking Orders Six Ocean Ships

Last week, Viking Cruises and Fincantieri announced an agreement to build six more ocean-going ships, which will make Viking Ocean into a sixteen-ship brand.

The Viking order will mean business for Fincantieri until 2027, with the first of the six to be delivered in 2024, two each in 2025 and 2026 and the sixth in 2027.

The Viking Sea in Venice (Courtesy Viking Ocean Cruises) (Click to enlarge)

The Viking Sea in Venice (Courtesy Viking Ocean Cruises) (Click to enlarge)

The agreement is subject to specific conditions. Viking and Fincantieri will be developing a new project based on the successful characteristics of the previous Viking ships, but updated in line with the latest technologies.

Viking’s current ocean fleet stands at four 47,800-ton 930-berth all-veranda ships.

Sixteen ships will be the highest number to be built for a single shipowner for any shipyard, Fincantieri ceo Giuseppe Bono noted.

”When we launched our first ocean ship in 2015, we set out to reinvent ocean cruising. We focus on the destination, and we do not cram our ships with gimmicks and water slides,” said Viking Cruises chairman Torstein Hagen.

The Viking Star (Photo Neven Jerkovic at Shipspotting.com) (Click to enlarge)

The Viking Star (Photo Neven Jerkovic at Shipspotting.com) (Click to enlarge)

”In our first two years of operation, we have been named the No. 1 Ocean Cruise Line,” he continued, “and this new order speaks to the positive response we have received from our guests. As we continue to expand, we look forward to bringing guests to more destinations around the world and introducing them to the Viking way of exploration.”

The announcement came just prior to the christening of Viking’s fourth ocean ship, the Viking Sun, on March 8 in Shanghai. This ship is currently sailing on a sold-out 141-day world cruise from Miami to London Greenwich, with its call at Shanghai being Viking’s maiden call in China.

Viking Cruises is sponsoring the Victoria & Albert's 2018 Ocean Liners exhibition

Viking Cruises is sponsoring the Victoria & Albert’s 2018 Ocean Liners exhibition

The Viking Sun has joined Viking Sky, Viking Sea and Viking Star. Two more sister ships will follow in the next two years, with Viking Orion arriving in June this year and Viking Jupiter in 2019. On top of this, ten more ships will follow from Fincantieri.

Viking Cruises is sponsoring the present “Ocean Liners: Speed and Style” exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (Now until June 17, 2018).

Further details of this exhibition can be found here:
https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/ocean-liners-speed-style

OTHER CRUISE NEWS

Ponant Orders Two More Explorers

French cruise line Ponant has also ordered two more 184-berth “Explorer” class ships to be named Le Bellot and Le Surville.

The Ponant Explorer new class ship (Artist impression) (Click to enlarge)

The Ponant Explorer new class ship (Artist impression) (Click to enlarge)

By 2021, the line will have a fleet of twelve ships and anticipates having 2,000 crew members and offering 460 departures covering all the world’s seas by then.

The two new ships are scheduled for delivery in the first and second quarters of 2020. Like the four vessels the company already has on order, the new ships will be built by Norwegian shipyard Vard, part of Fincantieri Group. Those presently on order are to be named Le Lapérouse, Le Champlain, Le Bougainville and Le Dumont d’Urville.

The ice-class 10,000-ton expedition ships will be about 430 feet long and 59 feet wide. The hulls will be built at Vard Tulcea in Romania, with final delivery by Vard Søviknes in Norway. The new vessels will have ninety-two staterooms and suites, each with balcony.

The six “Explorer” class vessels will all be fitted with an underwater lounge allowing passengers to experience the outside world through two portholes looking out onto the sea bed.

Le Lyrial at Fincantieri's Ancona shipyard (Click to enlarge)

Le Lyrial at Fincantieri’s Ancona shipyard (Click to enlarge)

Between 2010 and 2015 Fincantieri delivered four 264-berth uxury cruise vessels to Ponant, Le Boréal, L’Austral, Le Soléal and Le Lyrial, all built in Ancona.

Last year, Ponant also contracted Vard to build a unique electric hybrid-LNG expedition vessel developed by Ponant, Stirling Design International, Aker Arctic and Vard. The Polar Class 2 vessel is specially designed to take passengers to polar destinations such as the North Pole, the Weddell Sea, the Ross Sea and Peter I Island. She will also be equipped with two helicopters in on-board hangars.

The 30,000-ton Ponant Icebreaker will be about 492 feet long and 92 feet wide, with a cruising speed of 15 knots. The vessel will accommodate 270 passengers, in addition to a crew of 180.

Fincantieri's subsidiary Vard Will Build The First Arctic LNG Cruise Vessel For Ponant (Artist impression, Stirling Design Int.) (Click to enlarge)

Fincantieri’s subsidiary Vard Will Build The First Arctic LNG Cruise Vessel For Ponant (Artist impression, Stirling Design Int.) (Click to enlarge)

The hull will be built at Vard Tulcea in Romania. Delivery is scheduled from Vard Søviknes in Norway, in the second quarter of 2021.

Ponant says it is remaining loyal to its philosophy of sailing to places where others do not venture, offering remote destinations in Antarctica, the Arctic, Alaska, the Amazon, the Orinoco, or the Kimberley, Papua New Guinea, the North Pole and the Northwest Passage in Canada and the and Northeast Passage in Russia.

Ponant, a subsidiary of Artemis Group, is headquartered in Marseille, was foundedby Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée and a dozen Merchant Navy officers on 1988.

Star Order To Go To Dream Cruises

The first Global class newbuilding was previously allocated to Star Cruises (Artist impression courtesy Star Cruises) (Click to enlarge)

The first Global class newbuilding was previously allocated to Star Cruises (Artist impression courtesy Star Cruises) (Click to enlarge)

News also came from Genting Hong Kong last week that Dream Cruises will get the first “Global” class newbuilding previously allocated to Star Cruises.

The 204,000-ton 5,000-berth ship will join Dream Cruises in 2020. Genting Hong Kong has a sister ship set for a 2021 delivery, which could also be poised to join Dream Cruises.

MV Werften’s Global Class ship. Above pictured in Rostock (Artist impression MV Werften) (Click to enlarge)

MV Werften’s Global Class ship. Above pictured in Rostock (Artist impression MV Werften) (Click to enlarge)

“After designing the Global Class ships for the last three years and investing over €210 million to make MV Werften the-state-of-the-art cruise shipbuilding yard in the last two years, we are very pleased finally to start construction on the first ‘Global’ cruise ship today,” said Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, chairman and ceo of Genting.

“These ships are not only the largest cruise ships to be built in Germany, they are also the most technologically advanced. The ‘Global’ class ships will follow the embrace of Asians of artificial intelligence in their daily lives, with facial and voice recognition for most services onboard and robots to perform mundane tasks, allowing the crew to focus on service delivery.”

The ships are being built at MV Werften, which started production last Thursday with an official steel cutting ceremony.

The new ship will sail from China during the summer season, and will move to Australia or the US during the winter.

(Kevin Griffin is managing director of specialist cruise agency The Cruise People Ltd in London, England. For further information concerning cruises mentioned in this article readers can visit his blog)

(See the last columns)

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