On January 8, 2023, at the Los Angeles World Cruise Center, Viking Cruises named its newest ship, the Neptune, immediately prior to its departure to Honolulu to continue its 138-day epic world voyage. Starting in Fort Lauderdale a couple of weeks ago, the world cruise will end in London in May after visiting 28 countries and 57 ports with overnight stays in 11 cities. The Neptune, like its seven identical sister ships, has 465 all-veranda, Scandinavian-designed staterooms accommodating 930 guests. Clean lines define the interior design, with airy public spaces, several outdoor dining options and a world class spa.
Named for both the furthest planet in the solar system and the God of the sea, the Neptune was blessed by Pastor Asmund Offernes of Norwegian’s Seaman’s Church in San Pedro, California. The ceremonial historic broad axe was then handed to veteran NASA astronaut, author, artist, and Neptune Godmother Nicole Stott to cut the ribbon, allowing a bottle of Norwegian Aquavit to break on the ship’s hull.
Both the Norwegian and American national anthems were sung by Sissel Kyrkjebø, a leading crossover soprano and Viking Jupiter Godmother who was accompanied by the incredibly talented violinist Tor Jaran Apold. Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen was on hand and noted continuing gratitude for Stott’s “many contributions to the scientific community and [we] are proud to have her as part of the Viking family.”
Stott experienced two spaceflights and spent 104 days spent living and working in space on the Space Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS). Stott completed a space walk and was the first person to fly the robotic arm capturing the free-flying HTV cargo vehicle. Stott was also the last crew member to fly to and from the ISS mission on a Space Shuttle, and a member of the final flight crew of Space Shuttle Discovery. Also a NASA aquanaut, Stott spent 18-days on the Aquarius Undersea Habitat. A true renaissance woman, Stott is the author of “Back to Earth: What Life in Space Taught Me About Our Home Planet – And Our Mission To Protect It,” and painted the first watercolor in space. To reach and inspire the next generation, Stott has co-founded the Space for Art Foundation, uniting the splendour and magic of space exploration with the healing power of art.
Given Stott’s experience and contribution to exploration and education, it is hard to imagine a more fitting Godmother for Viking Neptune. Happy travels! For more information on booking a cruise, visit https://www.vikingcruises.com