Viking has bestowed its newest ocean ship with the name Viking Neptune, at a ceremony in Los Angeles. The ships godmother Nicole Stott is a now-retired NASA astronaut, aquanaut and artist, honoured tradition by offering her blessings and well-wishes for the new vessel.

Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking said: “Today is a proud day for the entire Viking family as we name our newest ocean ship in Los Angeles, the home of Viking’s U.S. office for more than 20 years.

“The Viking Neptune is a ship named for both the furthest planet in our solar system and the god of the sea—and our newest Viking godmother, Nicole Stott, as a NASA astronaut and aquanaut, also has connections to space and the sea. We are grateful for her many contributions to the scientific community and are proud to have her as part of the Viking family.”

Another significant milestone for the new ship is that despite its identical appearance to other Viking ocean ships, it is equipped with an industry-first hydrogen fuel system, marking it as the first cruise ship to test the use of hydrogen power. This small-scale test of hydrogen power will test its feasibility as a longer-term sustainability solution.

Godmother Nicole Stott spoke on the honour of her new position and the chance, as an explorer, to help others explore.

“It is an honour and privilege to be the godmother of the new Viking Neptune. As someone who has been blessed to explore space, the ocean, and some of the otherworldly places on our planet, I understand the importance of broadening one’s horizons through travel. I am very excited for all those who journey around the world on this elegant vessel.”

Ms Stott’s glittering resume includes two journeys into space and 104 days living and working in space on the Space Shuttle and International Space Station. She’s also just as celebrated as an aquanaut, spending 18 days on the Aquarius Undersea Habitat.