The Viking Neptune was named in a ceremony in Los Angeles on 08JAN, part-way through the new ship's 2022-2023 Viking World Cruise from Fort Lauderdale to London. The call in Los Angeles is one of 57 ports on the 138-day, 28-country voyage for the 8th identical sister ship in the Viking ocean fleet.
As part of the event, the ship’s ceremonial godmother, Nicole Stott, retired NASA astronaut, aquanaut and artist, offered the traditional blessing of good fortune and safe sailing for the ship. In a unique Viking touch that reflects the line's Scandinavian heritage and branding, during the ceremony, Stott used a historic Viking broad axe to cut a ribbon that allowed a bottle of Norwegian aquavit to break on the ship’s hull.
“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,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “The 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.”
A veteran NASA astronaut, Nicole Stott’s experience includes two spaceflights and 104 days spent living and working in space on the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station (ISS). She has performed one space walk and was the first person to fly the robotic arm to capture the free-flying HTV cargo vehicle, the last crew member to fly to and from their ISS mission on a Space Shuttle, and a member of the final flight crew of Space Shuttle Discovery. Stott is also a NASA aquanaut who lived and worked on the Aquarius Undersea Habitat for 18 days.
The Viking Neptune's godmother is the author of Back to Earth: What Life In Space Taught Me About Our Home Planet – And Our Mission To Protect It. Also an artist, Nicole painted the first watercolor painting in space—and is a co-founder of the Space for Art Foundation, which unites a planetary community of children through the awe and wonder of space exploration and the healing power of art.
According to Viking, all of Stott's work inspires everyone’s appreciation of our role as crewmates here on “spaceship” Earth.
“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,” said Stott.
The Viking Neptune is the newest and 8th ship in Viking’s award-winning ocean fleet of identical sister ships. Viking’s ocean vessels have 465 staterooms that can host 930 guests; the ships feature all veranda staterooms, Scandinavian design, light-filled public spaces and ample al fresco dining options.
Although identical in design to Viking’s other ocean ships, the Viking Neptune is uniquely equipped with a small hydrogen fuel system, making it the cruise industry’s first ship to test the use of hydrogen power for on board operations, according to the company. Viking is using the small system as a test to determine how hydrogen fuel could be used at a larger scale in future newbuilds.
In APR, Viking will welcome a 9th ocean ship, the Viking Saturn.
For more information, please visit Viking's web site.