Finland-based Viking Lines’ ‘Viking Grace’, built at the former STX Finland Perno shipyard in Turku and was one of the first passenger ships to use liquefied natural gas as fuel, has clocked up 10 years of service.
Viking Grace was built specifically for the Turku–Mariehamn–Stockholm route. Viking Line’s order for the vessel in October 2010 was extremely important for the Turku shipyard, which today goes by the name Meyer Turku, since the shipyard had no orders on its books when the agreement was signed. The vessel, which replaced the Isabella, cost about €240m, and its construction entailed 2,600 person-years of employment for the shipyard and a number of subcontractors. Viking Grace made its maiden voyage on January 13, 2013.
Johanna Boijer-Svahnström, Viking Line SVP Corporate Communications,said: “Viking Grace was a big investment for us both in the passenger experience and in sustainability. The vessel still lives up really well to passengers’ growing expectations – which also confirms its status as a pioneer. Much of the thanks for Viking Grace’s success over time goes to its nearly 300 crew members. The vessel has its own, strong Grace spirit, which has inspired many people to enjoy themselves on board since the very beginning. Convinced by its popularity, we invested in planning and building a sister ship, our latest addition, Viking Glory, where we used many good solutions from Grace.”
When Viking Grace started service, it was the first passenger ship in the world to run on LNG. The hull of this climate-smart ship was designed to minimise fuel use and wave formation, which reduces the environmental impact of traffic in the archipelago. The vessel runs quietly thanks to advanced noise reduction technology. Periodic service and maintenance of Viking Line’s vessels are one aspect of the company’s focused climate work. Later in January 2023, Viking Grace will be dry-docked for a few weeks.
Viking Grace’s intendant, Sari Launonen, said: “Along with technical service measures, cabins and public spaces will be updated, carpets will be changed and auditory production technology in the nightclub will be overhauled. The refurbished vessel will be back in service on February 6.”