Viking River Cruises welcomed the latest additions to its fleet this week with the christening of six new Viking Longships during a waterfront celebration in Amsterdam.
And, recognizing the contribution the travel trade has made to the growth of the river cruise industry, Viking honoured six of its key partners by naming them as ceremonial godmothers for the six new ships.
The christening event marks another year of impressive expansion for Viking, occurring just two years after the company set a second Guinness World Record for the most new ships launched in a single day, and just one month before Viking Ocean Cruises launches its second ship, Viking Sea.
Of the six new Longships, four will be deployed on Viking’s most popular itineraries on the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers; the remaining two will sail the Seine River on Viking’s Paris and the Heart of Normandy itinerary.
Later this month, Viking will also debut a seventh new river ship for 2016, Viking Osfrid, which is inspired by the Longships design and specifically built for the Douro River, bringing the company’s total number of ships in Portugal to three.
“River cruising remains one of the fastest growing segments of travel, and we would not be the leading river cruise line without the help of travel agents,” said Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking Cruises. “The naming of ships by ceremonial godmothers is a naval tradition that dates back thousands of years. The partners we have chosen to name our newest ships are experts in their field, and as Viking has marketed the concept of river cruises over the last two decades, they have always recognized our value in the industry. We are honoured to have their support and their participation in this year’s celebration.”
Included among the prominent women who will serve as Viking Longship godmothers and representing travel trade organizations from across North America and the United Kingdom were Lisa Anciaux, godmother of Viking Rolf, director of travel products for AAA Washington; Beth Butzlaff, godmother of Viking Kadlin, managing director of cruise sales for Virtuoso; Michelle Chimko, godmother of Viking Alruna, chief operating officer of the Alberta Motor Association; Jennifer Gasser, godmother of Viking Egil, vice-president of supplier relations and product operations for World Travel Holdings; Beryl Gibson, godmother of Viking Vilhjalm, joint owner of Northumbria Travel Limited; Sinead O’Connell, godmother of Viking Tialfi, director of industry relations for Vacation.com.