by Kevin Griffin writing for cybercruises.com
Viking Sea was delivered on Friday, March 24, and left Istanbul on her maiden voyage yesterday, eventually to reach Greenwich, where she will be christened on May 5.
Koningsdam, on the other hand, was delivered last Thursday and leaves Civitavecchia on her maiden voyage this Friday. She will be christened in Rotterdam on May 20, named in honour of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands.
Holland America Line’s Koningsdam (Courtesy Fincantieri)
These two ships tend to define the boundaries of upper premium cruising to-day, as small as one might like to go and as large.
But where the Holland America ship follows the mainline cruising tradition of extra charges for most things, Viking Cruises include no extra charge restaurants, free shuttle buses, complimentary wine and beer with meals, free coffees and teas throughout the ship, free Wi-Fi and complimentary bottles of water when leaving the ship.
Koningsdam is presently registered in the Bahamas, and unless her registry is changed before she is christened, she will become the first Holland America ship not to be registered in the Netherlands for some years.
Hai Xing ex Randfontein
And for Viking’s most recent ship, we note that she is owned by Hai Xing 1601 Ltd. Seeing that Silversea’s 388-berth Silver Shadow was owned by a company called Hai Xing 1201 Ltd for a time, it may be that Viking Cruises has entered into a financing agreement with China’s ICBC Leasing. While once registered under the Hai Xing name, Silver Shadow has now been registered with Silversea Cruises Ltd in Fort Lauderdale since November 2014.
Hai Xing is a name that has been used by Chinese passenger ships in the past and was carried by the former Dutch liner Randfontein for fifteen years, when she traded between Shanghai and Hong Kong, before being scrapped in 1996. Hai Xing can be translated into English as sea star, but can also mean all right.