Viking’s new ocean ship Viking Venus has arrived in Portsmouth for its maiden call ahead of a season of UK cruises starting on May 22.
The ship arrived at 7am on Monday after being delivered by the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy last month.
It is identical to sister vessels Viking Star, Sea, Sky, Orion and Jupiter, with 465 all-balcony staterooms and capacity for 930 guests, and will be named by ceremonial godmother and broadcaster Anne Diamond on Monday (May 17)
Torstein Hagen, Viking chairman, said: “We are delighted to be here. The UK government is leading the way with its sensible approach to the safe return of cruising and has helped us all put hope back on the horizon.
“Viking was the first cruise line to suspend operations in March 2020 and, after 14 months of keeping our ships in warm lay-up, we are looking forward to ushering in this new era.”
Wendy Atkin-Smith, managing director of Viking UK, added: “The arrival of Viking Venus into the UK is a momentous occasion for us and marks a significant milestone as we look forward to welcoming back guests on our England’s Scenic Shores itineraries.
“As a proud seafaring nation it is fitting that the UK is where Viking will restart operations globally and, with its rich naval and shipbuilding history dating back more than 800 years, we are thrilled that Portsmouth is Viking Venus’ maiden port of call, especially as it is the place Viking Venus will call home for the next two months.”
Mike Sellers, director of Portsmouth International Port said: “We are honoured to host the global debut of Viking Venus, as the cruise line restarts operations and begins domestic passenger sailings.
“Everyone has been working incredibly hard throughout the pandemic, which is how we’ve been able to respond quickly to new health protocol measures and are ready to support travel as soon as restrictions allow.”
He added: “The cruise industry at large, and especially Viking, has put huge amounts of consideration into making sure safety is paramount and I have been impressed by the detail and coordination, going above and beyond what is required.”
Three England’s Scenic Shores itineraries will sail round-trip from Portsmouth for vaccinated guests, calling at Liverpool, the Isles of Scilly, Falmouth and Portland. After the three UK sailings, Viking Venus will join Viking Sea in Malta, from where it will operate Mediterranean itineraries.