You may recall we shared the announcement that The Vikings Are Coming last December when STX France received an order to build two luxurious small cruise ships for Viking Ocean Cruises, the new sister company of Viking River Cruises. The vessels were scheduled to be delivered in spring 2014 and spring 2015.
That deal fell through earlier this month when Viking River Cruises withdraw from negotiations, apparently after financing details weren't ironed out. Not giving up on their plans, Viking Ocean Cruises has now announced they've inked a Memorandum of Agreement for the construction of two nearly identical luxury ocean cruise ships with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri. The memorandum also includes an option for a third vessel. The parties have reached an agreement on the financial and technical aspects of the deal and expect to sign the contract shortly, once the final documents and conditions are finalized.
In line with Viking's intimate, destination-focused approach to cruising, the new ocean ships will be small by today's standards at approximately 45,000 GRT and will host 998 passengers in 499 cabins. The first ship is scheduled for delivery in late 2014, the second one in late 2015.
Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking, commented, "We started Viking River Cruises to offer great destination experiences, and we are excited to bring this same destination focus back to ocean cruising. The ship designed by Fincantieri has a fresh and innovative design well suited to deliver the award-winning Viking experience."
We wish them luck and look forward to hearing additional details.