Another new Viking ocean ship takes to the water

Viking Ocean Cruises' fourth ship, Viking Sun, touches water for the first time on Dec. 15, 2016 during a 'float out' ceremony. Sun is scheduled to debut in late 2017.

River cruise giant Viking’s move into ocean cruising hit another milestone Thursday as the line’s fourth ocean-going ship took to the water for the first time.

The California-based company’s 930-passenger Viking Sun was “floated out” from a dry dock at the Fincantieri shipyard in Ancona, Italy, where it had been under construction for more than a year. The vessel is scheduled to debut in late 2017.

The initial stages of a cruise ship’s construction take place in a dry dock facility. Once exterior outfitting is completed, the dry dock is flooded and the ship is floated to a wet dock facility where construction continues.

As is tradition in shipbuilding, the shipyard held a ceremony Thursday to commemorate the float out. Yi Lou, a vice president at China Merchant Bank Financial Leasing, served in the traditional role of madrina — a godmother-like position. She participated in welding commemorative coins under the ship’s mast and cut a cord to allow water to begin flowing into the vessel’s building dock.

Fast-growing Viking to have six ocean ships by 2020.

China Merchant Bank Financial Leasing is involved with the financing of Viking ships.

The 47,800-ton Viking Sun is a sister to Viking’s first ocean ship, Viking Star, which debuted in 2015. A second vessel in the series, Viking Sea, arrived in 2016, and a third sister ship, Viking Sky, will begin sailing in February. Viking has ordered six vessels in the series for delivery by 2020.

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Viking Sun will sail maiden voyages to Cuba and the Caribbean before embarking on a 141-day world cruise that spans five continents.

What are the new Viking ocean ships like? Scroll through our deck-by-deck tour of the Viking Star in the carousel at the top of this story.

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