03 August 2015

Viking Star in Helsinki, 29 June 2015

Viking Star

IMO 9650418
Built 2015, Fincantieri Maghera, Italy
Tonnage 47 842 GT
Length 227,28 m
Width 28,79 m
Draft 6,65 m
944 passengers
4 MAN diesels, combined 23 520 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thrusters
Speed 20 knots

By accident, this entry is quite topical, as the Viking Star is currently in the news due to engine problems.

The Viking Star is, of course, the first ship of Viking Cruises' ocean-conquering quartet. Viking Cruises - or rather Viking River Cruises as it was still known at the time - originally signed a memorandum of agreement with STX France for the construction of two ocean-going cruise ships in December 2011. However, this original agreement was allowed to lapse, and in 2012 Viking signed a contract for two cruise ships with Fincantieri instead. The contract included an option for two sister ships, which was taken up before the first ship was even completed. To the best of my knowledge, Viking still hold an option for two additional sisters.

The keel of the Viking Star was laid at Fincantieri's Maghera shipyard in December 2013, the ship was launched the following May and delivered in April 2015. The ship was officially named only on 17 May, when she visited Bergen for the first time. Unusually for a modern cruise ship, the Viking Star is registered in Norway with Bergen as her home port. Both the ship and Viking Cruises new oceangoing brand received a lot of (deserved) media attention. However, things have not been entirely rosy on the Viking Star's maiden season: last Thursday (30 July) the ship was stuck in Tallinn due to a failure in her the electric transformers of one of her main engines. Spare parts are due to be flown in, but in the mean time the ship remains in Tallinn, and the remainder of her current cruise (which was due to terminate in Bergen on 9 August, if I've understood correctly) has been cancelled. It remains to be seen if the ship can begin her next cruise normally.

Anyway, the photographs below show the Viking Star departing Helsinki Länsisatama on the afternoon of 29 June 2015, photographed from Sisä-Hattu. As per the usual, click on the images to see them in larger size.

A lot of people have commented on how attractive the Viking Star looks. To be perfectly honest, I don't see where they're coming from. Sure, she's an okay modern cruise ship, but not that different from, say, Oceania Cruises' Marina and Riviera. One suspects that this is a case where people like Viking and as a result see their ship as (more) beautiful (than the others).
Sisä-Hattu is always a good place for getting some nature into the foreground.
Although considered to be a fairly small cruise ship by today's standards, the Viking Star is just a tad too long to safely transit the Kustaanmiekka strait leading to Eteläsatama (South Harbour) right next to Helsinki's historical city center.
Proudly flying the Norwegian flag - there's a sight you don't see every day on a cruise ship.
Next stop... can't actually remember if she was headed for Saint Petersburg or Stockholm this time around. One of the two anyway.
Next time we continue with ships that have never been featured on this blog before with the Serenade of the Seas.

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