What was supposed to be a lavish christening ceremony in Cologne, Germany on July 2 for Viking River Cruises’ newest river ship the Viking Legend, has been postponed until this fall.
The transfer of the ship from the shipyard to Cologne, Germany, was delayed by low water levels on the Elbe River and unfavorable weather conditions in the North Sea, Viking said.
The brand new ship is still expected to be delivered in time for her maiden voyage, which starts in Amsterdam on July 5. Viking said that cruise departures for the summer months are heavily booked and that the christening will be rescheduled for the fall.
The Viking Legend will be the company’s first new river cruise ship in Europe since the Viking Helvetia launched three years ago. It will also be one of the first river cruise ships with a greener diesel engine that propels an electrical generator.
“At any given moment the ship’s energy needs are automatically calculated and the engines produce and supply only as much energy as needed,” Viking’s VP of nautical operations Thomas Bogler said. “This allows the ship to use 20% less energy than a comparable ship.”
According to Viking, the new ship will also be a quieter ride with four smaller propellers instead of two large propellers. “The diesel engine is smaller than a conventional engine, so it vibrates less, making it very quiet,” Bogler added. “The system also allows us to continue cruising even if one of the engines has to be taken offline for scheduled maintenance — remaining engines will simply produce more output to compensate.”
The 189-passenger ship will sail the 15-day Viking River Cruises Grand European Tour itinerary along the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers between Amsterdam and Budapest. The Legend has 10 scheduled departures on that itinerary in 2009, five in one direction and five in the opposite direction, between July 5 and Nov. 8.
The 443-foot ship will be the longest in the Viking fleet. It will feature 98 staterooms, of which two are 310-square-foot suites. Cabins will include 26‑inch flat-screen televisions, refrigerators, hairdryers and in‑room safes. The Legend will also feature a restaurant, library, sun deck, onboard boutique and an observation lounge.
Viking worked with Norwegian design firm of Yran & Storbraaten to design the ship’s interiors, which will be similar to the that of the Helvetia, Viking Surkov and Viking Kirov, according to the company.
Yran & Storbraaten’s “signature look is a warm neutral palette of colors, bright woods and Scandinavian-inspired design,” stated Mr. Bogler.