This marks the first time one of Viking’s ocean ships has called in China, and it was the first cruise ship to be named on The Bund.
'We care deeply about tourism in China, and we have been bringing river cruise guests here since 2004,' Viking chairman Torstein Hagen said. 'China is the home of Viking Sun’s godmother, Mrs. Yi Lou, and in the coming year, Shanghai will also welcome our fifth ship, Viking Orion. We look forward to introducing thousands of new travelers to the cultural treasures in Shanghai and throughout China.'
Viking Sun was positioned at the Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, adjacent to a concert stage constructed for the celebration. Wallem Shipping China (Wallem Ship Agency) handled the call. Viking’s world cruisers and international dignitaries were treated to high-tech show and musical concert on the waterfront that paid tribute to the special friendship between Norway and China. On a giant wave-like screen built alongside the ship, a projected animation depicted the story of silk—the ancient trade that has formed a cultural bond between Norway and China.
Shanghai television personality Michelle Wang served as master of ceremonies and introduced musical performances from the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra and acclaimed Chinese operatic tenor Dai Yuqiang, as well as Norwegian singer Sissel Kyrkjebø.
Godmother Yi Lou, VP of China Merchant Bank Financial Leasing, cut the ribbon that released a bottle of Norwegian aquavit to break on the ship’s hull.
On March 9, Viking Sun will set sail from Shanghai for Southeast Asia and India, before making its way through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean—essentially following the route of the 21st century Maritime Silk Road or 'One Belt One Road' Initiative.
When the ship arrives in London (Greenwich) on May 5, it will have visited five continents, 35 countries and 64 ports during the line's inaugural world cruise. Viking Sun will continue to sail the globe during its 2019 world cruise, a 128-day itinerary from Miami to London.
Operating river cruises on the Yangtze since 2004, Viking has been one of the largest sources of inbound travelers from North America. In 2016, Viking began offering a new river cruise product designed for Chinese travelers to Europe. Sailing on Viking’s Longships, Chinese travelers experience a Mandarin-exclusive environment, with all signage in Mandarin and all staff and tour guides fluent in Mandarin. These dedicated 190-guest Viking Longships are the first Mandarin exclusive hotel environments for Chinese travelers in Europe.
And, expanded for 2018, Viking will offer 100 sailings on the Rhine and Danube rivers, dedicated specifically for Chinese.