The cruise ship was delivered to Viking last week and is currently sailing a maiden voyage with her ceremonial godmother, American chemist, emergency room physician and retired NASA astronaut Dr. Anna Fisher, along with dozens of Dr. Fisher’s friends, family, academics, explorers and fellow astronauts.
While all five of Viking’s ocean cruise ships are virtually the same, Viking Orion debuted with a new feature, The Explorers’ Dome – located in the upper level of the Explorers’ Lounge on Deck 8. “The Explorers’ Dome” is a planetarium-like theater where guests can view special panoramic films about exploration, such as “Journey to Space” and “Life Under the Arctic Sky” in a fully immersive environment.
Named after the prominent constellation and in honor of Dr. Fisher’s work on NASA’s Orion exploration vehicle project, the 930-guest 47,800-ton Viking Orion arrived in Livorno early this morning. The ship will continue her maiden season sailing itineraries in the Western and Eastern Mediterranean this summer before heading east to sail Viking’s newest itineraries in Asia, Australia and Alaska.
Following her arrival this morning, Viking Orion was positioned alongside the city’s historic Medici-built Fortezza Vecchia (Old Fortress). Livorno is known as a gateway to Tuscany, a region reached by the original Viking explorers. Nearby, Pisa is also known for its native Galileo Galilei – “The Father of Science” – whose gravitational theories and invention of the Galilean telescope have been central to advancements in oceanic navigation.
It was at the Fortezza Vecchia that in 1662 students of Galileo held an experiment to test his projectile motion theory. Livorno – with its Fortezza Vecchia – was chosen specifically for Viking Orion’s naming ceremony because of those connections to scientific studies and exploration. During the day today, Viking Orion guests and international dignitaries were treated to an interactive exhibit inside the Fortezza Vecchia that tells the stories of exploration technology throughout history – from the Vikings’ solar compass to Galileo’s gravitational and projectile motion experiments. The exhibit was designed and built specifically for Viking Orion’s naming ceremony.
During the naming ceremony this evening, guests enjoyed a high-tech show and musical concert that paid tribute to Nordic mythology and the spirit of exploration. Legendary British explorer Sir Ranulph “Ran” Fiennes served as the narrator for the event, which also included musical performances from Italian tenor Antonio Corianò, Norwegian bukkehorn musician Sissel Morken Gullord and Norwegian singer Sissel Kyrkjebø, who is widely considered one of the world’s top crossover sopranos and who will also be godmother to Viking Jupiter®, which debuts in early 2019.
Dr. Anna Fisher served as ceremonial godmother and offered a blessing of good fortune and safe sailing for Viking Orion – a naval tradition that dates back thousands of years. In keeping with the naming custom, Dr. Fisher also used an historic Viking broad axe to cut a ribbon that allowed a bottle of Norwegian aquavit to break on the ship’s hull.
Viking Orion is the fifth ocean cruise ship in the fast growing Viking’s fleet which includes Viking Star, Viking Sea, Viking Sky, and Viking Sun. The 47,800 gross ton cruise ships carry 930 passengers and offer the best value at sea.
Each stateroom includes a balcony, one excursion in every port, free WiFi, all onboard meals, self serve laundry, and access to the thermal suite.