The world’s largest Viking ship will be in Norfolk. Here’s when and what’s up

The Draken will dock at Nauticus during its stop in Norfolk. (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Draken)
The Draken will dock at Nauticus during its stop in Norfolk. (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Draken)

UPDATE Sept. 18, 2018:  Norwegian Viking ship, Draken Harald Hårfagre (Draken) will now stopover on Sept. 27 through Sept. 30. Beginning with an arrival ceremony on Sept. 27 and continuing with three days of ship tours and activations in the Draken Village, the Draken visit promises visitors an engaging look at the modern-day Viking spirit.


NORFOLK — Norwegian Viking ship, Draken Harald Hårfagre (Draken), on Tuesday announced the city will be an official stop on its Expedition America: East Coast Tour 2018 presented by Highland Park Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

The tour, which launched in July 2018, will bring the world’s largest operating Viking ship to Norfolk for a three-day stopover from Sept. 14 through Sept. 16.

Hosted in partnerships with Visit Norfolk, the Draken will dock at Nauticus.

Draken will allow guests to not only marvel at this stunning Viking ship – but also to interact with the crew as they share their personal experiences of thrill, fear, and exhilaration while enduring the ship’s 2016 transatlantic crossing – reliving the Viking discovery of the New World more than 1,000 years ago, according to a new release from the city.

Beginning with an arrival ceremony on Sept. 13 and continuing with three days of ship tours and activations in the Draken Village, the Draken stop promises visitors an engaging look at the modern-day Viking spirit.

“We are excited about the arrival of the Draken, and the opportunity for our visitors to explore the decks, learn about the history of the ship and see demonstrations” said Sam Rogers, interim president and CEO of Visit Norfolk.

“Nauticus is proud to welcome this amazing vessel to the downtown Norfolk waterfront,” said Stephen Kirkland, Nauticus executive director.  “It’s a chance for the community to meet an international team of mariners and learn more about traditional Viking shipbuilding.”

Here’s the schedule:

  • Thursday, Sept 13 – Draken arrival ceremony, 4:30 p.m.

Guests are invited to greet the Draken ship as it sails into port with a display of Viking valor and excitement. Capt. Björn Ahlander and his crew will step ashore to welcome the crowd and introduce the Draken. This event is free and open to the public.

  • Friday, Sept. 14 through Sunday, Sept. 16 – Draken Village & Deck Tours, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Beginning daily at 10 a.m., Draken will be open for timed and ticketed deck tours. Tour tickets, which run $6 for kids (ages 5 to 15, free admission for ages 4 and under);$12 for adults (ages 16 and over); and $30 for a family pack (includes two adults, and up to three children) can be purchased online at, or on-site at the Draken Village. During each 30-minute tour, guests are guided through the ship and offered a look at a day-in-the-life of the crew and the historic craftsmanship used to build the ship with oak, tar, hemp, iron, and silk.

Within the Draken Village, which is free and open to the public, guests can experience a photo and video exhibition illustrating Viking history, modern explorers, and the adventures of the Draken; land-side views of the ship; the Highland Park Whisky hospitality tent; local food and beverage vendors; official Draken merchandise and more.

Volunteer crew positions

“The Vikings were accomplished navigators, artisans, traders and storytellers, but their greatest triumph was the ships they built,” Ahlander said. “Each Draken stopover offers guests a tangible tie to history. We hope our visitors are inspired by the vigor of the Viking spirit and our modern-day adventures.”

Following the overwhelming response from the 2016 tour, the Draken Harald Hårfagre North American tour has consisted of stopovers across the East Coast states of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia.

The crew on board Draken is a team of 35 men and women from all over the world, representing a diverse mix of age, gender, nationality, and background.

The Draken is now accepting applications for public volunteer crew positions. To take part in this rare opportunity click here.

To learn more about the Draken ship, team and 2018 tour, visit here or @DrakenHH on social media.

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John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.