Viking Cruises: New ship Viking Venus arrives in Portsmouth ahead of UK cruise holidays
Viking Cruises saw its brand new cruise ship Viking Venus arrive in Portsmouth today ahead of the line resuming UK cruises for 2021 later this month.
Cruises are allowed to sail once more from May 17 under the latest Government rules.
Viking Cruises had been forced to suspend operations for 14 months due to the coronavirus pandemic but will now be welcoming guests on the new Viking Venus from May 22.
The cruise ship sailed into Portsmouth at 7am this morning on her maiden call.
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The vessel joins the rest of Viking's fleet: Viking Star, Viking Sea, Viking Sky, Viking Orion and Viking Jupiter.
Viking's ocean vessels have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons and with 465 all veranda staterooms that accommodate 930 guests.
Viking Venus is set to be named by her ceremonial godmother, British journalist and broadcaster Anne Diamond on May 17.
"We are looking forward to ushering in this new era," said Viking’s Chairman, Torstein Hagen.
The cruise line is offering England’s Scenic Shores itineraries.
The sailings will travel roundtrip from Portsmouth calling at Liverpool, the Isles of Scilly, Falmouth and Portland.
Viking also recently announced that Viking Venus and Viking Sea will homeport in the Maltese capital city of Valletta over the summer.
They will sail new Mediterranean itineraries, which will be available to UK guests as well as a new Iceland itinerary, subject to UK government guidelines on international travel.
The Department of Transport (DfT) currently states: "No earlier than May 17...Domestic cruises will be permitted in England under step three of the roadmap out of lockdown.
"Domestic cruises will be able to operate with up to 1,000 people or 50 percent capacity, whichever is lower. This capacity limit applies to passengers only.
"COVID-secure guidance will continue to apply. Groups of more than six people or two households will not be allowed to mix indoors – whether or not they originally booked in the same group.
These measures are set to relax further next month. "No earlier than June 21... the Government hopes to remove all legal limits on social contact," details the DfT.
"This includes lifting capacity limits for domestic cruises."
Many cruise lines now have strict rules requiring travellers to be vaccinated and Viking Cruises are only available to vaccinated holidaymakers.
The company has implemented a number of safety measures on board.
All guests and crew will receive frequent quick and easy non-invasive saliva PCR tests.
What's more, new air purification technology has also been installed on all Viking ships, which have always featured independent air handling units for all guest staterooms.
Mike Sellers, Director of Portsmouth International Port said: "We are honoured to host the global debut of Viking Venus, as the cruise line restarts operations and begins domestic passenger sailings.
"Everyone has been working incredibly hard throughout the pandemic, which is how we’ve been able to respond quickly to new health protocol measures and are ready to support travel as soon as restrictions allow.
"The sailings from Portsmouth are cruises around the UK and we have comprehensive plans in place to keep staff, passengers and the community safe, following the UK Chamber of Shipping Cruise Operations Framework.
"The cruise industry at large, and especially Viking, has also put huge amounts of consideration into making sure safety is paramount and I have been impressed by the detail and coordination, going above and beyond what’s required.’
To celebrate the launch of Viking Venus a special episode following the ship’s journey will be broadcast on Viking.TV, Viking’s award-winning digital enrichment channel, at 7pm GMT on Monday 17 May followed by a week of exclusive programming, including Anne Diamond’s weekly livestream on Thursday 20 May. Access is free and open to all via https://viking.tv/
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