Monday, 24 March 2014

18 Viking ships named this week

18 Viking ships named this week

By Rebecca Tobin
Viking Longships christeningONBOARD THE VIKING HEIMDAL — Viking River Cruises is christening 18 ships in four days — and 18 ships means 18 godmothers, including seven representing the travel industry.
Nine ships were named Monday in Amsterdam, and seven were christened on Tuesday: three in Avignon and four in Rostock, Germany.

“I think it’s quite a week for some of us,” Viking Cruises Chairman Torstein Hagen said at the start of the ceremony in Avignon, where he was flanked onstage on the top deck of the Heimdal by seven godmothers and the captains of their ships.

A giant screen behind them displayed video of the four ships in Germany, and as the godmothers blessed their vessels by pressing red buttons on either side of the stage, mechanical arms holding bottles of Veuve Cliquot swung down and smashed them against each ship (windy conditions at the yard in Germany caused a little trouble with two of the bottles, but the bottles broke without incident under sunny skies in Avignon).

In the audience on the Heimdal were godmothers for seven of the nine Viking ships named in Amsterdam: Vicky Garcia, COO of Cruise Planners; Sarah Henshall, vice president of travel and branch operations for AAA Carolinas; Kathryn Mazza-Burney, executive vice president of Travelsavers; Geraldine Ree, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Expedia CruiseShipCenters; Anne Morgan Scully, president of McCabe World Travel; Pam Young, vice president of industry relations for Travel Leaders Franchise Group; and Hanh Haley, the partner of Travel Leaders Group Chairman Michael Batt.
Viking namingTwo ships, the Viking Hemming and the Viking Torgil, will be christened in Portugal on Friday.

The total includes 14 of Viking's 190-passenger Longships delivered this year. Two delivered last year are being christened this week, as well. The two ships sailing in Portugal are 106-passenger vessels built to operate on the Duoro River.

The ship introductions means that Viking will operate 52 vessels in 2014.