Viking christened their newest ocean ship, Viking Neptune, this week in a ceremony in Los Angeles with astronaut Nicole Stott serving as the ship’s godmother.
Viking Neptune was in Los Angeles for the day as part of a 138 day cruise around the world that will visit 28 countries and 57 ports. The christening ceremony for the cruise ship was held at the World Cruise Center at the Port of Los Angeles.
The naming ceremony for Viking Neptune is a maritime tradition that dates back thousands of years. In keeping with the naming tradition, Nicole Stott used a historic Viking broad axe to cut a ribbon that allowed a bottle of Norwegian aquavit to break on the Viking Neptune’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, STS-133. Nicole is also a NASA aquanaut who lived and worked on the Aquarius Undersea Habitat for 18 days.
Viking Neptune is the eighth ocean cruise ship to join Viking’s fleet. The ship is nearly identical to the previous seven sister ships and can hold 930 passengers in 465 balcony staterooms.
The cruise ship is also the first in the industry to test the use of hydrogen power for onboard operations.
The cruise line is planning for a new generation of cruise ships using hydrogen fuel cells that will allow the vessels to operate at zero-emissions in the Norwegian Fjords. The first of these new ships is schedule to enter service in late 2024.