Meet Viking River Cruises' Newest LongshipsMarch 20, 2013 By: Susan Young
|At the christening ceremony in Amsterdam // All photos by Susan J. Young|
Viking River Cruises is making waves on European rivers with its rapidly growing fleet of new Longships, giving travel agents more new, contemporary, service-focused river ships to sell.
On Wednesday afternoon, Viking christened 10 of its new Longships in two locations – waterside in Amsterdam and at Neptun Werft, the Rostock, Germany shipyard.
Approximately 1,000 guests, travel agents, media and invited VIPs turned out in Amsterdam to watch the multiple christenings, each with individual godmothers. Crew members lined the decks of the line’s ships and in Rostock, shipyard workers also turned out for the festivities.
The Viking vessels were decked out with colorful red-and-white balloons and green garlands. Travel agents, cruise executives, media and VIPS enjoyed a pre-christening reception inside Amsterdam's cruise terminal.
Then to the rousing drum beats of "Norse warriors," the crowd headed outside or onto the upper deck of the cruise terminal to view the harborside event.
Two contemporary violinists performed a short, upbeat concert before Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen welcomed the crowd and noted it was a “very important day” for the line.
Six of the new ships christened - Viking Atla, Viking Forseti, Viking Jarl, Viking Rinda, Viking Tor and Viking Var - were in Rostock; guests in both locales watched the action on humongous outdoor video screens.
Of the four new ships christened waterside in Amsterdam, two - Viking Bragi and Viking Skadia - are totally new. Two others - Viking Aegir and Viking Embla – are almost new; they were placed in service last year but had not been previously christened.
Three additional Viking River Cruises vessels - Viking Freya, Viking Njord and Viking Odin, all launched in 2012 - were also docked in Amsterdam for the event.
Viking is building a river ship empire of sorts. Hagen said Tuesday that the line now plans to launch 12 new Longships next year.