Viking just announced plans for a new cruise ship — here’s why that’s a big deal

Jan 26, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Fast-growing Viking on Tuesday did something we haven’t seen a cruise line do in many months: It announced plans to add a new, built-from-the-ground-up cruise ship to its fleet.

The California-based cruise operator said it had ordered a new river vessel to operate on the Nile in Egypt that would debut in September of 2022.

To be called Viking Aton, the new vessel will measure just 3,600 tons and hold only 82 passengers. It’s designed to sail to such iconic Egyptian sites as the Temple of Luxor and the Valley of the Kings.

For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG’s new cruise newsletter.

The announcement of the new ship is notable at a time when most cruise lines have put ship orders on hold and are actively cutting back their fleets by selling and scrapping vessels.

“Egypt remains a top destination for many of our guests who are inspired to discover the rich history and beauty of the region,” Viking chairman Torstein Hagen said Tuesday in a statement accompanying the announcement. “The addition of Viking Aton is a reflection of our continued investment in Egypt; we look forward to introducing the country’s cultural treasures to even more Viking guests in the future.”

Related: The best credit cards for booking cruises

Viking Aton will be a sister vessel to Viking Osiris, a drawing of which is shown here. (Image courtesy of Viking)

Viking already has built two ships for the Nile, the 48-passenger Viking Ra and the 82-passenger Viking Osiris. Viking Ra debuted in 2018. Viking Osiris had been scheduled to debut last year, but its unveiling was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s now scheduled to begin operating in December.

Viking Aton will be a sister ship to Viking Osiris.

Like Viking Osiris, Viking Aton will boast interior spaces with a streamlined, Scandinavian look — a Viking hallmark. Every cabin will be outward-facing with river views, and the ship will feature spacious suites that have two full-size rooms and balconies.

Five passenger decks on Viking Aton will include a pool-and-sun deck and three cabin decks. Interior areas will include a lounge with floor-to-ceiling glass doors and a version of the Aquavit Terrace space found on many Viking ships that offers al fresco dining.

Related: Viking is building its first expedition ships

Viking is, notably, the only Western cruise company that has been building its own cruise ships for the Nile that it also owns and operates. Many other brands charter vessels for use on the Nile.

Viking Aton will be used to increase departures of Viking’s 12-day Pharaohs and Pyramids cruise tour itinerary, which includes a three-night stay at a hotel in Cairo and a seven-night cruise on the Nile.

The Cairo-based portion of the itinerary includes visits to such iconic sites as the Great Pyramids of Giza, the necropolis of Sakkara and the Mosque of Muhammad Ali. The cruise portion of the itinerary includes visits to multiple temple and tomb sites including the Temples of Luxor and Karnak, the Valley of the Queens, the Valley of the Kings and the temples at Abu Simbel.

Viking’s announcement came just a day after another cruise line, Azamara, announced it would add a vessel to its fleet over the next year, expanding its passenger capacity by 33%. But Azamara isn’t ordering a newbuild vessel (as new ships on order are known in the cruise industry). It’s an existing ship the line is purchasing from Princess Cruises.

Related: New Viking itinerary will include after-hours visit to Graceland

Many cruise lines have vessels on order that are scheduled to debut over the next couple of years. But all of the newbuilds were announced before the coronavirus pandemic caused cruising to shut down.

All of the world’s major cruise lines halted departures in March 2020, and most major lines remain completely shut down for now. This prompted many lines to pause new ship orders, and some lines also are downsizing their fleets significantly.

Cruise giant Carnival, for instance, has shed four of the 27 vessels it was operating before the pandemic began. Holland America has removed four of 14 ships from its fleet.

Other lines that have cut their fleet sizes in recent months including Royal Caribbean, Costa Cruises, P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image of courtesy of Viking. 

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.