Viking Cruises® announced it has set a new world record with the inauguration of its newest Viking Longships®. In a multi-phased event taking place over 24 hours, the company christened 16 of its award-winning Viking Longships – nine were christened in Amsterdam; four were christened in Rostock, Germany; and three were christened in Avignon, France. The first-of-its kind ceremony was subsequently certified by a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ adjudicator as ‘The Most Ships Inaugurated in One Day by One Company.’ Viking already held the previous record, having christened 10 new ships in one day in 2013. Adding to the festivities, on Friday, March 21, Viking will also christen two new, unique river vessels in Porto, Portugal – bringing the total to 18 new ships launched across four countries in five days.
All of Viking’s new ships will be deployed on its most popular itineraries in Europe, and 2014 marks the first year that the company’s award-winning Longships® will sail in France. A total of four Viking Longships will be deployed on Viking’s itineraries in France, including one vessel dedicated specifically to the company’s new Châteaux, Rivers & Wine itinerary in Bordeaux. Also, as a testament to the popularity of Viking’sPortugal’s River of Gold itinerary, the two new ships there will double the company’s current capacity on the Douro River.
“Today we mark a new milestone for Viking and for modern river cruising. We are proud to celebrate the arrival of our newest ships, and it is an honour to have each one named by a prominent godmother,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. “River cruising is the fastest-growing segment of travel, and it is in large part because of the enthusiasm of our guests and travel trade partners that we have enjoyed such success.”
Recognizing the travel trade’s contribution to the growth of the river cruise industry, Viking highlighted esteemed travel agent partners by naming them as ceremonial godmothers for seven of the 18 new ships. With cultural enrichment and privileged access at the heart of every experience Viking offers its guests, women representing distinct elements of travel, food, wine and entertainment were selected to honour that focus and serve as godmothers for another seven of the new ships. And in the spirit of strong business partners, Viking selected four valued representatives from the banking and shipping sectors to serve as godmothers for the additional four new ships. The full list of godmothers includes:
Amsterdam Christenings – March 17
Mary Berry, Godmother to Viking Alsvin, is a legendary TV baker and cookbook author. She currently stars in the new series Mary Berry Cooks, which airs on BBC 2.
Kathryn Burney-Mazza, Godmother of Viking Baldur, is the Executive Vice President of Sales for TravelSavers.
Vicky Garcia, Godmother of Viking Magni, is the Co-Owner and Chief Operating Officer of American Express’ Cruise Planners.
Hanh Haley, Godmother of Viking Gullveig, is the partner of Travel Leaders Group Chairman Michael Batt.
Sarah Henshall, Godmother of Viking Lif, is the Vice President of Travel & Branch Operations for AAA Carolinas.
Geraldine Ree, Godmother of Viking Eistla, is the Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Expedia CruiseShipCenters.
Anne Morgan Scully, Godmother of Viking Ingvi, is the President of McCabe World Travel, Virtuoso’s top-producing agency.
Ayako Ward, Godmother of Viking Delling, is a noted food and cruise travel writer and throughout her career has spent 25 years at sea, during which time she served as an interpreter and specialist in handling Japanese passengers, as well as serving as international hostess onboard the beloved ocean liner Queen Elizabeth 2.
- Pam Young, Godmother of Viking Bestla, is the Vice President of Industry Relations for Travel Leaders Franchise Group.
Avignon Christenings – March 18
Susi Barrie, Godmother of Viking Heimdal, is an award-winning author, broadcaster and wine personality, well known from BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen.
Mireille Mathieu, Godmother of Viking Buri, has sung on stages all over the world, and in duets with some of the finest singers of our time. Originally from Avignon, she is now celebrating a 50-year career. With more than 130 million albums, 1,200 songs in nine languages and 55 singles sold worldwide, Ms. Mathieu, or “Marianne de France” as she is called, is one of France’s greatest artists.
- Anne Willan, Godmother of Viking Hermod, is recognized as one of the world’s preeminent authorities on French cooking. She founded École de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris and has had more than 50 years of experience as a teacher, author, culinary historian and food columnist. She is the author of more than 30 books, including her memoir, One Soufflé at a Time: A Memoir with Recipes, which was released in 2013.
Rostock Christenings – March 18
Marion Krase, Godmother of Viking Hlin, is a senior employee in the repair and new-building department at the Neptun Werft shipyard.
Regula Oderbolz, Godmother of Viking Idi, is managing director at UBS AG Switzerland and heads Global Trade & Export Finance for the bank.
Monica Petitpierre, Godmother of Viking Kvasir, is the wife of CIC Bank’s Cedric Petitpierre, a banker for the river cruise industry. Originally from the Brazilian metropolis of São Paolo, she now lives in Switzerland and is now strongly involved with social projects in the health sector.
- Laura Pfleumer, Godmother of Viking Kara, is a corporate client assistant at UBS AG Switzerland and is responsible for the daily bank business of Viking.
Porto Christenings – March 21
Laura Ferreira, Godmother to Viking Torgil, is the wife of Pedro Passos Coelho, the Prime Minister of Portugal, and is currently the Coordinator of the Medical and Rehabilitation Center in the Mira Sintra Educational Center for the Handicapped Citizen.
- Ana Moura, Godmother to Viking Hemming, is one of the most prestigiousfadistas – or female fado singers – in Portugal. The primary subject of a 2011 article in The New York Times about the country’s new fado movement, Ms. Moura is a Golden Globe® nominee and has collaborated with the Rolling Stones and Prince.
Since debuting in 2012, Viking Longships have amassed a long list of prestigious awards. They recently topped Condé Nast Traveler’s annual readers’ Cruise Poll for best river cruise ships – with Viking Odin specifically being named the #1 top-ranking river cruise ship – and the entire class of vessels was named “Best New River Ships of 2012” in Cruise Critic’s® Editors’ Picks Awards.
Viking Longships integrate a patented corridor design and cutting-edge technology with comfortable amenities that reflect guest preferences and current travel trends. These new features include a revolutionary all-weather indoor/outdoor Aquavit Terrace that reinvents the onboard lounge experience by bringing the panoramic outdoor river scenery indoors with retractable floor-to-ceiling glass doors and allows guests to enjoy the views and dine al fresco. Accommodating 190 passengers in 95 staterooms, Viking Longships have a patented layout that allows for two Explorer Suites – the largest river cruise suites in Europe – as well as seven two-room Veranda Suites with a full-size veranda in the living room and a French balcony in the bedroom; 39 Veranda Staterooms with full-size verandas; and 22 French Balcony Staterooms. Additionally, all Longships have sustainability upgrades, such as onboard solar panels and organic herb gardens, and energy-efficient hybrid engines that also reduce vibrations for a remarkably smooth ride.
Inspired by the design of the Viking Longships, the company’s two new vessels in Portugal will be smaller, hosting 106 passengers in 53 staterooms, but will tout many of the same popular features as Viking Longships – including an Aquavit Terrace, a wide variety of stateroom choices, onboard solar panels and an organic herb garden, as well as Viking’s signature Scandinavian design aesthetic.
The expansion of Viking’s fleet comes as a response to increased traveller demand for destination-focused cruises. In addition to the new Viking Longships and new vessels in Portugal, the company’s first ocean ship, the 930-passenger Viking Star®, is currently under construction and will set sail in early 2015.