Strange times today in the world of cruising.
Vard, a Norwegian division of Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, announced it had signed a ‘letter of intent’ with Viking Cruises to supply ‘two special ships’ in 2021 and 2022, with an option for two more. The ‘advanced cruise vessels’ would be designed to be among the most environmentally friendly in the world.
The contract for the two ‘totally innovative’ ships – widely speculated to be expedition vessels – is worth 460million euro (£400million/$565million) and the final contract is due to be signed by the middle of this year.
Roy Reite, the CEO of Vard, commented: ‘It is our pleasure to work with Viking to develop a new series of cruise vessels. The company is well known for its expansion in river cruises and ocean cruises, and they are now looking to Norway for the design and construction of its new cruise fleet. We are honoured to be chosen as their partner in this exciting project, and look forward to continuing the excellent cooperation with the Viking team.’
Vard, which is building expedition ships for French line Ponant, even released a picture of Viking chairman Torstein Hagen shaking hands on the deal with some of its executives.
The two ships would be in addition to 12 ocean-going vessels ordered by Viking to add to its four already in service.
Asked about the news, Viking Cruises declined to comment.
Watch this space…