Viking's Newest Ocean Ship Named by NASA Astronaut and Aquanaut Godmother
Viking Neptune, the river and ocean cruise line’s newest ocean ship, has been ceremonially named by her godmother, retired NASA astronaut, aquanaut and artist, Nicole Stott. The ship’s naming ceremony was a highlight for its World Cruise guests.
Viking Neptune arrived in Los Angeles on the morning of January 8 and departed for Honolulu following its naming ceremony, continuing its voyage from Fort Lauderdale to London spanning 138-days, 28 countries and 57 ports, with overnight stays in 11 cities.
The naming of the 930-guest Viking Neptune also comes as the company continues celebrating its 25th anniversary.
“Today is a proud day for the entire Viking family as we name our newest ocean ship in Los Angeles, the home of Viking’s U.S. office for more than 20 years,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “The Viking Neptune is a ship named for both the furthest planet in our solar system and the god of the sea—and our newest Viking godmother, Nicole Stott, as a NASA astronaut and aquanaut, also has connections to space and the sea. We are grateful for her many contributions to the scientific community and are proud to have her as part of the Viking family.”
A veteran NASA astronaut, Nicole Stott’s experience includes two spaceflights and 104 days spent living and working in space on the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station (ISS). She has performed one space walk and was the first person to fly the robotic arm to capture the free-flying HTV cargo vehicle, the last crew member to fly to and from their ISS mission on a Space Shuttle, and a member of the final flight crew of Space Shuttle Discovery. Nicole is also a NASA aquanaut who lived and worked on the Aquarius Undersea Habitat for 18 days.
Nicole Stott is the author of Back to Earth: What Life In Space Taught Me About Our Home Planet – And Our Mission To Protect It. Also an artist, Nicole painted the first watercolor painting in space—and is a co-founder of the Space for Art Foundation, which unites a planetary community of children through the awe and wonder of space exploration and the healing power of art. Through her work, Nicole inspires everyone’s appreciation of our role as crewmates here on “spaceship” Earth.
As ceremonial godmother of the Viking Neptune, Stott offered a blessing of good fortune and safe sailing for the ship—a maritime tradition that dates back thousands of years. “It is an honor and privilege to be the godmother of the new Viking Neptune. As someone who has been blessed to explore space, the ocean, and some of the otherworldly places on our planet, I understand the importance of broadening one’s horizons through travel. I am very excited for all those who journey around the world on this elegant vessel,” she said.
In keeping with Viking’s Scandinavian heritage and naming traditions, during the ceremony Nicole used a historic Viking broad axe to cut a ribbon that allowed a bottle of Norwegian aquavit to break on the ship’s hull.
More About the Viking Neptune
The Viking Neptune is the newest ship in Viking’s award-winning ocean fleet of 8 identical sister ships. In April, 2023, Viking will also welcome another new ocean ship, the Viking Saturn. The Scandinavia-design ships with light-filled public spaces and ample al fresco dining options are home to 930 guests in all veranda staterooms.
Although identical to Viking’s other ocean ships, the Viking Neptune is uniquely equipped with a small hydrogen fuel system, making it the cruise industry’s first ship to test the use of hydrogen power for on board operations. Viking is using the small system as a test to determine how hydrogen fuel could be used at a larger scale in future new builds.
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Image courtesy of Viking: Three Viking “godsisters” together in Los Angeles–Nicole Stott, godmother of the Viking Neptune; Karine Hagen, godmother of the Viking Sea; and Sissel Kyrkjebø, godmother of the Viking Jupiter—with Geir Rovik and Viking Neptune Captain Erik Saabye.
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