Viking named its newest ocean ship, Viking Neptune, with a celebration on Sunday in San Pedro, Los Angeles. As part of the event, the ship’s ceremonial godmother, Nicole Stott, retired NASA astronaut, aquanaut and artist, offered a blessing of good fortune and safe sailing for the ship – a maritime tradition that dates back thousands of years.
Viking Neptune arrived in Los Angeles early in the morning of 8 January and departed for Honolulu following the naming ceremony. The ship is currently sailing the 2022/2023 Viking World Cruise, an epic voyage from Fort Lauderdale to London that spans 138-days, 28 countries and 57 ports, with overnight stays in 11 cities.
The naming of Viking Neptune also comes at a time of record sales for Viking, with the launch of Viking’s new 25th Anniversary Sale on 1 January resulting in the highest number of bookings in one week in the company’s history.
“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 US 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.”
Stott commented, saying: “It is an honour 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,” she added.
In keeping with the naming tradition, 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. Prior to the ribbon cutting, the axe was presented to Stott by Sissel Kyrkjebø, one of the world’s leading crossover sopranos and godmother of Viking Jupiter, who used it when naming her ship in January 2020. Event guests also enjoyed performances from Sissel and Norwegian violinist Tor Jaran Apold.
Nicole Stott, Godmother of the Viking Neptune
A veteran NASA astronaut, 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 spacewalk 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. She is also a NASA aquanaut who lived and worked on the Aquarius Undersea Habitat for 18 days.
Viking Neptune is the newest ship in Viking’s award-winning ocean fleet of identical sister ships, which also includes Viking Star, Viking Sea, Viking Sky, Viking Orion, Viking Jupiter, Viking Venus, and Viking Mars. In April, Viking will also welcome another new ocean ship, Viking Saturn.
Although identical to Viking’s other ocean ships, 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 onboard operations. Viking is using the
small system as a test to determine how hydrogen fuel could be used at a larger scale in future new builds.