Located above the Arctic Circle on Norway’s northwest coast, Tromsø is a popular destination for viewing the northern lights – and a key port of call on Viking’s popular Into the Midnight Sun itinerary, which sails between Bergen and London, allowing guests to explore the northernmost reaches of Scandinavia. Viking Sky navigated into the Tromsø harbor, where she received a warm welcome with coordinated water cannons from Norwegian redningsskøyten boats, music from local bands and flag-waving Tromsø residents.
After arriving in Tromsø, Viking Sky was positioned in the harbor adjacent to a concert stage constructed specifically for the celebration. Viking guests and residents of Tromsø were treated to a public concert, with performances from a variety of Norwegian musicians – including Arctic Philharmonic, Lisa Stokke, Violet Road, Sara Marielle Gaup Beaska and Jørn Hoel. During Viking Sky’s christening ceremony, Marit Barstad, sister of Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen, served as ceremonial godmother and offered a blessing of good fortune and safe sailing for Viking Sky – a naval tradition that dates back thousands of years.
Several elements of the christening ceremony paid homage to the Norwegian heritage of both the company and godmother. Instead of champagne for the traditional bottle-breaking, Viking Sky was christened with a bottle of Gammel Opland aquavit, which hails from the same county in Norway where Torstein and Marit’s mother, Ragnhild – also lovingly known as “Mamsen” – was born. “Mamsen’s,” the Norwegian deli onboard Viking Sky, was also named after Ragnhild, and Gammel Opland was her favorite brand of aquavit. Additionally, in honor of the original Viking explorers, a gilded Viking axe was used to cut the cord for the aquavit christening.
The particular axe used is a replica of a gilded Viking axe artifact discovered near Tromsø. Also, the chopping block used for the ceremony was brought from the Rotnes Farm in Nittedal, where the godmother grew up. Immediately following the christening, Viking Sky set sail from Tromsø with a convoy of small boats and fishing vessels to mark the summer equinox in Nordkapp (North Cape). Onboard the ship, guests were also treated to a special christening dinner with Norwegian delicacies and musical performances by Lisa Stokke, Tor Jaran Apold and Mari Boine. The ship will now spend the summer season sailing Viking’s popular itineraries in Scandinavia and the Baltic.
Viking Ocean Cruises has raised the bar when it comes to ocean cruising. Currently with three cruise ships in service and another one under construction that will go into service in 2017, Viking offers a nearly all-inclusive cruise experience on a comfortable, modern cruise ship.
Viking’s motto is that they are not going to charge to take you to a destination, and then charge you again to see it. They offer one complimentary shore excursion in every port of call. In addition to the complimentary shore excursions, the following is included in all cruise fares:
- All specialty restaurants
- Full room service menu available 24/7
- Most drinks during meals
- Unlimited Wi-Fi
- Thermal Suite that includes a snow grotto
- Specialty coffees
- View Cruises on Viking Ocean Cruises
Viking Ocean Cruises has another five ships under construction/on order that will bring their fleet to eight cruise ships.