Viking has named its fifth ocean ship, Viking Orion, during a celebration in Livorno, Italy on June 14. The ship was delivered to Viking last week and is currently sailing its inaugural voyage with its ceremonial godmother, American chemist, emergency room physician and retired NASA astronaut Dr. Anna Fisher, along with Fisher’s friends, family, academics, explorers and fellow astronauts.
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 in the morning on June 14. The ship will continue its inaugural 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 the ship's arrival, 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 famous “Father of Science.”
According to Viking, Livorno was chosen specifically for Orion’s naming ceremony because of those connections to scientific studies and exploration. Viking Orion guests 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, guests were treated to a show and musical concert that paid tribute to Nordic mythology and the spirit of exploration. 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 will 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.
For more information, visit www.vikingcruises.com.