Viking announced on Thursday that its newest ocean ship, the 930-passenger Viking Mars, was floated out of the shipyard today, marking the first time it has touched water.
The cruise line also revealed the ceremonial godmother who will name the ship when she debuts. Lady Fiona Carnarvon, the eighth Countess of Carnarvon, will do the honors when Viking Mars debuts early next year.
“The day that a new ship meets water for the first time is always a special moment in time, and today is especially meaningful because for the second time, my dear friend Lady Carnarvon will honor us by serving as godmother to a new Viking ship,” said Karine Hagen, Executive Vice President of Viking.
“The last year and a half has been a period of uncertainty for all of us, and it is in those times that you know your true friends. Lady Carnarvon has done so much to help Viking, including opening her home almost weekly for our guests to experience life ‘At Home at Highclere’ on Viking.TV. She is truly a like the sister I never had. We are delighted to celebrate this important milestone, and we look forward to welcoming Viking Mars to our award-winning ocean fleet next year.”
The float out ceremony took place at Fincantieri’s Ancona shipyard, and marks the beginning of the final stage of a ship’s construction. Following a two-day process that will set the vessel afloat, she will then be moved to a nearby outfitting dock for final construction and interior build-out.
Viking and Highclere Castle
The announcement that Lady Carnarvon will serve as godmother builds on the longstanding relationship between Viking and the Carnarvon family.
Since 2013, Viking has offered guests a variety of ways to experience life at Highclere Castle, the home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon and the filming location of Downton Abbey.
Pre and post-cruise extensions there include “Oxford & Highclere Castle” and “Great Homes, Gardens & Gin” which are available on select river and ocean itineraries. On the Pharaohs & Pyramids Nile River cruise itinerary, Viking offers the five-day “British Collections of Ancient Egypt” pre-cruise extension which includes a visit to the castle as well.
For over a year, Lady Carnarvon has welcomed viewers to Highclere Castle on Viking’s online channel Viking.TV. In her series At Home at Highclere, Lady Carnarvon offers virtual Privileged Access to the historic home and its grounds.
As well as now being the godmother to Viking Mars, Lady Carnarvon has served as godmother to the Viking longship Viking Skadi.
I am both honored and privileged to be chosen as godmother to the Viking Mars, the latest addition to Viking’s beautiful cruise ships. I’ve no doubt she will delight the many guests who travel with her across the seas and oceans,” she said.
Viking Mars will spend her maiden season sailing in the Mediterranean and northern Europe before embarking on voyages in Asia and Australia.
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