Viking Cruises announced this week that its third ship, Viking Sky, was officially christened during a public celebration in Tromsø, Norway. 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’s ocean ships are classified as “small ships” by Cruise Critic, and the 930-guest, 47,800-ton Viking Sky navigated into the Tromsø harbor earlier this week, greeted 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. 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. 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 spend the longest day of the year in Nordkapp (North Cape). Onboard the ship, guests were 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.
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