Viking Cruises' newest ocean ship Viking Mars has just floated out from shipyards at Ancona in Italy, and has entered the final stages of its construction, which includes its interior fit out.
"The day that a new ship meets water for the first time is always a special moment in time," says Viking vice-president Karine Hagen. "The last year and a half has been a period of uncertainty for all of us… We are delighted to celebrate this important milestone."
The new ship is scheduled to debut in early 2022 and will spend its maiden season in the Mediterranean and northern Europe before heading to Asia and on to Australia by the end of that year.
Viking Mars is set to arrive in Australian waters following its departure on a Bali to Sydney cruise on December 11, 2022. From December 27, it then sails a series of Sydney-Auckland cruises (and the reverse) before leaving Sydney on March 21, 2023 bound for Bali and then Bangkok.
The 15-day itineraries in Australia and New Zealand have overnights in Sydney and Auckland, and take in seven other ports: Melbourne, Hobart, Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Napier and Tauranga. There will also be scenic cruising in Bass Strait and the narrow Foveaux Strait between New Zealand's South Island and Stewart Island.
Viking Mars will bear close resemblance to all six previous Viking ocean ships, which carry 930 passengers and feature Scandinavian-inspired decor, all-veranda cabins, a main swimming pool and an infinity pool cantilevered off the stern, as well as a Nordic spa and several dining and bar venues.
Phone 138 747. See vikingcruises.com.au