RIVER CRUISES: Viking expands its river cruises fleet and welcomed eight new river ships to its award-winning fleet during a celebration in Paris.
Of the eight new Viking Longships®, four ships – Viking Fjorgyn, Viking Kari, Viking Radgrid and Viking Skaga – are built specifically to navigate the Seine River and bring guests to the heart of Paris with an exclusive docking location at Port de Grenelle, just a short walk from the Eiffel Tower. The four additional ships – Viking Egdir, Viking Gersemi, Viking Gymir and Viking Hervor – will sail Viking’s popular itineraries on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers.
The naming of the new river ships comes as Viking continues its 25th anniversary and a year of multiple milestones. In January 2022, the company launched Viking Expeditions and its first Polar Class vessel, the Viking Octantis®. By the end of the year, Viking will have also welcomed a second identical expedition ship, as well as two new identical ocean ships, new purpose-built vessels for the Nile and Mekong rivers and new Mississippi River voyages.
“As we mark 25 years of sailing the iconic waterways of the world, it is always a proud day when we welcome new ships to our fleet and offer more opportunities for curious travelers to explore the world in comfort,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “Today we are especially pleased to honor eight talented and accomplished individuals as godmothers of our newest river ships, and we look forward to the start of another season of European river voyages.”
Viking Naming Ceremony
In keeping with maritime tradition that dates back thousands of years, Viking invited eight distinguished cultural partners and important members of the company’s extended family to serve as ceremonial godmothers of the new ships. The honored godmothers include:
- Alma Deutscher, Godmother of Viking Gymir – A musical phenomenon, Alma captivates the classical world with her talents as a violinist, pianist, composer and conductor, and at just 17 years old was hailed as the “new Mozart” at an early age. She recently appeared on an episode of Viking’s award-winning enrichment channel, Viking.TV (Anne Diamond Welcomes Back Composer and Musician Alma Deutscher), where she discussed her upcoming concert series, which will be exclusive for Viking guests on select river voyages visiting Vienna.
- Helen Deutscher, Godmother of Viking Egdir – A violinist, pianist and vocalist, Helen is an accomplished musician who honed her musical and performance skills at the Music Gymnasium in Vienna and as a member of the Vienna State Opera’s children’s chorus; she has also performed in several productions of her sister Miss Alma Deutscher’s opera, Cinderella. Helen and Alma recently appeared together on an episode of Viking.TV (Anne Diamond Interviews Classical Musicians, Alma & Helen Deutscher) where they discussed their remarkable lives and many musical milestones.
- Dr. Janie Deutscher, Godmother of Viking Radgrid – An author and educator, Dr. Deutscher is also an accomplished musician and earned an organ scholarship to Oxford University where she later taught medieval literature; in recent years, she has concentrated on homeschooling and supporting the musical ambitions of her two daughters, Alma and Helen, godmothers of Viking Gymir and Viking Egdir, respectfully.
- Brenda Hunsberger, Godmother of Viking Hervor – For more than four decades, Ms. Hunsberger, Senior Vice President of Travel Services with AAA Club Alliance, has worked in the industry as an accomplished travel agent; she believes in the power of travel to transform perspectives and change lives.
- Karryn Christopher, Godmother of Viking Gersemi – Ms. Christopher is Executive Vice President of Preferred Partnerships & Marketing for Signature Travel Network, a member-owned travel cooperative established in 1956, where she has led the transformation of the company’s sales and marketing division.
- Ghislaine Wood, Godmother of Viking Fjorgyn – As the Deputy Director of the University of East Anglia’s Sainsbury Centre, one of the most important public university art galleries in Great Britain, Ms. Wood carefully curates exhibitions, including the upcoming “Visions of Ancient Egypt,” which was developed in partnership with Viking; opening in September 2022, the exhibit will honor the 100th anniversary of the discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb. Ms. Wood discussed her work at the Sainsbury Centre in a recent episode of Viking.TV (Explore Alaskan Objects at the Sainsbury Centre with Ghislaine Wood), including the origins of their Alaska collection which examines how indigenous Alaskan communities developed technologies and tools to adapt to their environment.
- Muriel Wilson, Godmother of Viking Skaga – As the Director of Event Strategy & Sponsorships for Virtuoso, Ltd., Ms. Wilson has been a distinguished staff member of the global network of agencies for more than 40 years and leverages her deep knowledge of the industry to develop quality hospitality and travel experiences for Virtuoso’s travel advisors and preferred partners.
- Kari Garmann, Godmother of Viking Kari – Former member of The Parliament of Norway and Oslo City Council, Ms. Garmann has made valuable contributions to Norway in the areas of government, business and banking throughout her career.
The naming event was executed by connecting the new ships via satellite across two European cities: Paris and Amsterdam. The Viking Fjorgyn, Viking Kari, Viking Radgrid and Viking Skaga were docked in Paris at the Port de Grenelle, where they were named by their godmothers. The other four ships – Viking Egdir, Viking Gersemi, Viking Gymir and Viking Hervor – were docked in Amsterdam and named by their godmothers, who also joined the celebration in Paris. In keeping with another maritime tradition, a bottle of Gammel Opland aquavit was broken on the bow of each new ship. Gammel Opland hails from the same county in Norway where Chairman Hagen’s mother, Ragnhild – also lovingly known as “Mamsen” – was born and was her favorite brand of aquavit. More information on the history of ship naming ceremonies and the special role that godmothers play can be found in a recent episode of Viking.TV (Explore the Role of a Ship’s Godmother, a Revered Nautical Tradition), hosted by Viking Executive Vice President Karine Hagen.
This year Viking will offer guests a Privileged Access® performance led by Alma Deutscher at Vienna’s illustrious Wiener Konzerthaus. She will conduct the historic Strauss Capelle orchestra and perform the music of Mozart, the waltzes of Strauss on the violin and her own compositions.
New Offerings on the Seine
Building on Viking’s offerings in Paris and the four new Viking Longships sailing the Seine River, the company has announced today a new post-trip extension entitled Paris: A Culinary Experience that will explore the cuisine of the French capital. Available beginning in 2023 for guests sailing on the 8-day Paris & the Heart of Normandy itinerary, the new extension allows guests to immerse themselves in the culinary history of Paris and taste the gastronomic delights the city has to offer. Guests on the 3-night extension will disembark their ship in Paris and explore the city with a culinary guide, visiting the “Belly of Paris” and the Rue Montorgueil, home to the city’s first pâtisserie, before checking into their hotel. The following day, guests will visit a Parisian cooking school to attend a croissant baking workshop with a local chef and learn about the pastry’s origins, before enjoying an evening wine and cheese tasting with an expert sommelier at a private wine cellar. On the final day, guests journey to the Jacquemart-André Museum for a tour of the 19th century mansion and its private art collection followed by a special workshop delving into the art of table etiquette. Each day allows ample free time for guests to explore iconic Parisian landmarks such as the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées from their centrally located hotel.
Additionally, Viking has announced a new holiday sailing, the 8-day Christmas on the Seine, sailing roundtrip from Paris. Available during the holiday season beginning in 2022, guests will sail through Normandy’s snow-covered countryside while enjoying the festive Christmas markets. Guests can select from holiday-centric shore excursions such as baking homemade gingerbread at the 850-year-old Abbaye du Valasse or attending a festive Christmas ornament making workshop in Rouen. Onboard, guests will enjoy special holiday-themed festivities including regional dining specialties, seasonal treats and more.
From now through March 31, 2022, Viking is offering special savings plus airfare from $599 on all 2022 and 2023 departures of Paris & the Heart of Normandy. Call Viking toll free at 1-855-8-VIKING (1-855-884-5464) or contact a travel agent for details.