THE BALTICS. Viking Line has commissioned a new vessel for one of its top duty free and travel retail routes – Turku, Finland to Stockholm, Sweden, via the Åland Islands. The ship is being built by Xiamen Shipbuilding Industry in China and is set to be delivered by 2020.

The interiors – including new retail and food & beverage spaces – are being designed by the Swedish architecture firm Koncept Stockholm. Inspiration for the Viking ship will come from marine life and the Nordics.

Turku-Sweden route is among the top routes for retail and duty free sales across Viking Line’s operations

Exact plans for both retail and F&B are still fluid, a Viking Line spokesperson told The Moodie Davitt Report, but it is possible that there will be some focus on fashion.

In 2016, the fashion category showed the greatest growth onboard its fleet, said the ferry company. Last year also saw extensive upgrades on Viking Grace, Amorella, Gabriella and Rosella, adding better spa facilities and more restaurant options.

Marine life: Design elements employed by architects Koncept Stockholm include inspiration from the Nordics and the Baltic seas

Viking Line President and CEO Jan Hanses expects a “sense of flair” in the architectural design of the new ship

“It is important to Viking Line that the architects contribute to an appealing travel experience – for cruise passengers, families with children, conference guests and substantial cargo traffic,” said Viking Line President and CEO Jan Hanses.

“This is a challenge that we foresee Koncept Stockholm handling with a sense of flair. We have also taken into consideration our international guests, who perhaps have never before experienced archipelago scenery like ours, by taking a further step in prioritising views of the sea and archipelagos.”

Koncept Stockholm has ten people working on the project led by Partner Niclas Makowsky and Founder & Partner Ann Marie Ekroth. Both previously headed its hotel design projects, including Haymarket and Grand Central by Scandic, and Copperhill Mountain Lodge in Swedish resort Åre.

“We are taking all our experience from exciting projects for hotels, bars, spas and shops across the Nordic countries with us onboard this passenger vessel,” said Makowsky.

Viking Line, which carried 6.5 million passengers in 2016, said its new natural gas powered vessel will be 218m in length with a capacity for 2,800 passengers.

Koncept Stockholm brings expertise from its numerous hotel design projects to the Viking Line captain’s table