Viking Cruises yesterday confirmed an order for two ocean-going vessels to be launched in 2015.

The Viking Ocean Cruises business will complement the company’s vast river cruise operation.

The pair of 928-passenger ships will pitch Viking against the likes of Azamara Club Cruises, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

The first ship – Viking Star – is due to enter service in May 2015 running itineraries in Scandinavia, the Baltic and Mediterranean.

Viking Ocean Cruises has an order for a second vessel for delivery in 2016 and options for a further four more.

The all balcony ship will have five categories of cabin and will offer two swimming pools, one under a restractable roof.

Cruise fares will include excursions, wi-fi, and beer and wine with lunch and dinner.

Cruise have gone on sale in the US and will be followed by the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Chairman Torstein Hagen said: “With our new ocean cruises, we are applying the same principles behind our award-winning river cruises to our itinerary and ship design, privileged-access excursions and onboard experiences to make destinations the true focus.”

The ship will make extended stays in ports, including overnight stops.