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VIKING SUN joins new Chinese company in 2021


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Looks like the Chinese are calling in their marker for their investment in the Sun, which of course will no doubt serve as a cash infusion of sorts as well that Viking (like every other line) is likely in desperate need of...

Wonder which one will be next as I can't see them stopping at just one...

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In the article it mentions that "operating a fleet of China-flagged ships offering coastal cruises"...

 

The christening ceremony of Viking Sun was taken place in China during her 2018 world cruise. This is probably the reason why Viking chooses her to be transferred to the new company first.

 

Nevertheless I'm still shocked by this news and disappointed with Viking's decision... 🙄😠

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We were there for the shindig in Shanghai in 2018 and it really was all for the Chinese.  This sort of explains why the Sun is not the ship for the (hopeful) next world cruise.  I had asked my guy at Viking why they didn't use the Sun and was pointedly not answered.  This appears to have been in the works a while and I agree with Captain Morgan as the Sun was not the only thing financed with Chinese investors.  

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Viking is just joining the list of cruise lines ( notably Royal Caribbean ) taking a major investment from the Chinese in building ships  that either start out or end up sailing for the rapidly growing Chinese cruise market. 

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2 hours ago, Jim Avery said:

We were there for the shindig in Shanghai in 2018 and it really was all for the Chinese.  This sort of explains why the Sun is not the ship for the (hopeful) next world cruise.  I had asked my guy at Viking why they didn't use the Sun and was pointedly not answered.  This appears to have been in the works a while and I agree with Captain Morgan as the Sun was not the only thing financed with Chinese investors.  

 

Based on the article, the MoU was signed in April 2019, so discussions probably started about the time of the 2018 WC Sun Christening.

 

Most disappointing news and the loss of a great ship to the Chinese flag. We certainly won't return to the Sun.  

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China is very conscious of its rise as a world power, so projecting its wealth and sophistication isn't unexpected. Viking is a widely respected, extremely competent player, and the Chinese government will learn a great deal from them.

 

The Viking decision is, in one sense, a strong vote of confidence in Viking.

 

 

 

 

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Like Andy we have great affection for the SUN.  I agree with Cienfuegos and also see the bright side in that the Chinese make their own rules and can sail when they see fit and putting the SUN back in service, any service, helps Mr. Hagen with his huge monthly cash burn.  One cannot expect him to continue to draw down his net worth to support cruise ships indefinitely.  And we have no idea when the world's bureaucrats will allow cruising as we know it.  

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1 hour ago, Cienfuegos said:

China is very conscious of its rise as a world power, so projecting its wealth and sophistication isn't unexpected. Viking is a widely respected, extremely competent player, and the Chinese government will learn a great deal from them.

 

The Viking decision is, in one sense, a strong vote of confidence in Viking.

 

 

 

 

 

It will be interesting to see how it shakes out as I can think of a couple major players (Princess & NCL) who sent supposedly purpose built ships (Majestic Princess & Norwegian Joy) for the Chinese market to be stationed there, albeit not under Chinese control / flag and both were sent packing with their tail between their legs.  Yes, both of those ships mentioned are behemoths in comparison but both were literally brand new and if you're comparing apples to apples when it comes to competence and reputation, both Princess and NCL have many years more experience in the realm of ocean cruising than Viking.

If China wants to show it's wealth I wonder when they go after the likes of Crystal (technically already owned by a Chinese firm) who last I saw/read was having some major financial issues.

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The matter of Chinese control and flag are important considerations.

 

The expansion of the Chinese middle class has been nothing short of astounding over the past 20 years.  It's not at all surprising that the government would like to create a safe venue for its citizens to explore part of the world.

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1 hour ago, SantaFe1 said:

Yes, and as I said ,they are marked SOLD OUT, which, in my experience means they are nor longer for booking.

Just checked the Sun schedule. It is scheduled starting May 24 (Baltic Jewels & Midnight Sun) and continues through August 22nd (Iceland's majestic landscapes). After that both British Isles Explorers with the Sun are shown as Sold Out. So after that, that's it? 

 

Actually, is this any different than the arrangements Viking River makes in order to cruise in Viet Nam, China, Russia, and Egypt where all of those ships are either owned and chartered from a local company or owned by a Viking company incorporated locally?

Edited by CharTrav
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19 hours ago, SantaFe1 said:

Yes, and if you look them up they are marked SOLD OUT

I noticed that too for the Iceland cruises - except this morning both Sun cruises are again available for booking. This is not unusual with Viking, so I wouldn’t draw conclusions based on cruise availability.

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Haven't really checked her outstanding cruises, but before she can assume her new identity, she will require:

  • a make-over to suit the Chinese market,
  • they have to go through some form of inspections to change the Flag from NIS to China, and they may also have to change the ship's Classification Society from Lloyds (LR) to China Classification Society (CCS), and
  • she requires her 1st Special Survey by first half of 2022. 

The Special Survey is definitely a dry-docking and make-over projects are most often scheduled with a docking, so I expect to see the Sun scheduled for a docking in early 2022. Since she is being used for a joint venture, I expect to see her dock in a Chinese yard, as they are desperate to get into passenger ship construction/repair. If not a Chinese yard, then possibly a yard in Singapore.

 

Ship owners generally don't send ships in ballast, so I expect that once Viking returns to service, we will see a one-off voyage, or series of voyages to the Far East, at which time we will have lost the "Sun". Since it is highly unusual for ship owners to dry-dock twice within a year, my best guess this voyage would be end of 2021 or beginning of 2022.  

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8 minutes ago, Cienfuegos said:

The comment about a desire to gain expertise in passenger ship construction and maintenance rings true to me.  Joint ventures may lower the risk and improve the skills transfer.

 

It is a tried and true technique.

 

The Chinese are desperate to claw cruise ship construction away from Europe.

 

Having been subjected to the quality, or more specifically the lack of quality, of their manufacturing, we often placed comments on safety equipment purchase orders that it could not be China made.

 

Personally, I have never worked on a China built ship and have no desire to change.

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Fyi - I decided to dig into Chinese financing of Viking Ocean ships because I had a vague memory of a presentation by Mr Haugen a few years ago announcing that a number of new Viking Ocean ships would indeed be financed by China.  Came across this article from 2017

http://staging.seatrade-cruise.com/news/news-headlines/china-merchants-closes-500m-financing-deal-for-two-viking-newbuilds.html

Going by the launch date cited in the article (and checking Wikipedia),  I'll venture a guess that Viking Spirit is now called Viking Orion.  

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3 hours ago, CharTrav said:

Forgive my ignorance, but what does "in ballast" mean? Thanks!

That would be a ship that makes a transit with no cargo, so the only weight onboard is ballast water.  For a cruise ship, substitute passengers for cargo.  

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