Viking welcomes the latest additions to its river fleet with the naming of seven new ships during a celebration on the River Rhine in Basel. In keeping with a maritime tradition dating back thousands of years, Viking invited seven long-serving employees and members of the company's family to serve as honorary godmothers of the new ships including Wendy Atkin-Smith, MD Viking UK.
Wendy was named as godmother to Viking Sigrun, which will sail the eight-day Rhine Getaway itinerary between Basel and Amsterdam. Viking Sigrun, named after the leader of a band of horseriding female Valkyries from Norse mythology, is one of six new Viking Longships. The other ships, Viking Einar, Viking Sigyn, Viking Tir, Viking Ullur and Viking Vali, will be deployed on Viking's most popular itineraries on the Rhine, Main and Danube. The seventh new ship, Viking Helgrim, was inspired by the design of Longships and built specifically for the Douro River.
“We began hosting guests on the rivers of Russia 22 years ago, and have always done things differently. We focus on the destination and provide travel experiences that allow our guests to learn, enrich their lives and explore the world in comfort. It is 'The Viking Difference' that has made us the leading river cruise line in the world and has helped river cruising become one of the fastest-growing segments of travel,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking.
The naming event was executed by connecting the new ships via satellite across four European cities. Viking Einar and Viking Sigrun were docked in Basel and named in person by their godmothers. The other five ships were “virtually” named, Viking Sigyn and Viking Ullur in Rostock, Germany; Viking Tir and Viking Vali in Brunsbüttel, Germany and Viking Helgrim in Porto, Portugal. In keeping with another maritime tradition, a bottle of Gammel Opland aquavit was broken on the bow of each new ship. Gammel Opland comes from the same area in Norway where Chairman Hagen's mother, Ragnhild, also known as 'Mamsen', was born and was her favourite brand of aquavit. Following the naming event, guests had dinner at Basel's Fondation Beyeler museum, set amidst the museum's newest and most ambitious exhibition: The Young Picasso. Blue and Rose Periods. Guests were also treated to a performance by Alma Deutscher, the 14-year-old English composer, pianist, violinist and child prodigy.
I'm Gilly, award winning journalist, travel writer and author of 11 books. My byline appears in national and regional newspapers and magazines. Website gillypickup.co.uk