Viking® (www.viking.com) marked the company’s 25th anniversary with a historic celebration in Amsterdam. To commemorate the milestone, for the first time ever, three classes of Viking ships—a river ship, an ocean ship and the company’s newest expedition vessel, the Viking Polaris®—met in Amsterdam and sailed in a special convoy to IJmuiden, Netherlands. Participating in the convoy with the Viking Polaris were the Viking Longship®, the Viking Mani, and the ocean vessel, the Viking Mars®.
During the Amsterdam event, Viking also named the Viking Polaris and her identical sister ship, the Viking Octantis®, which is currently sailing her inaugural season in the Great Lakes. Both ships will spend the Austral summer in Antarctica, before travelling north to the Great Lakes for a series of voyages during spring and summer.
“This is historic for Viking—to celebrate our 25th anniversary, to have all classes of our ships sailing together for the first time, and to name our phenomenal new expedition vessels. We are very grateful to their godmothers, Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft, for honouring us. As renowned explorers who became the first women to ski across Antarctica, they are the perfect choice for ships that are designed for expeditions,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “I am very proud of what we have accomplished in our first 25 years. And in our view, we are just getting started. Where do we go next? Onwards.”
Renowned explorers and educators Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft, the respective ceremonial godmothers of the Viking Octantis and the Viking Polaris, were in attendance in Amsterdam and offered a blessing of good fortune and safe sailing for the new ships—with Arnesen offering her blessing remotely via video to the Viking Octantis in the Great Lakes. In keeping with the naming tradition, Arnesen and Bancroft assisted in breaking a bottle of Norwegian aquavit on each of the ship’s hull. During the ceremony, guests enjoyed performances from Sissel Kyrkjebø, one of the world’s leading crossover sopranos and godmother of the Viking Jupiter®, and violinist Tor Jaran Apold. Guests on all Viking three ships in Amsterdam were able to join in the naming ceremony, as well as witness the historic convoy, from their ships’ respective outdoor viewing areas.
Viking’s 25th anniversary celebration in Amsterdam is the most recent event during a milestone year in which the company has also welcomed to its fleet eight new Viking Longships on the rivers of Europe and new purpose-built vessels on the Mekong, Nile and Mississippi rivers. By the end of 2022, two new, identical ocean ships will have also joined Viking’s fleet. Earlier this year, Viking was named the Best River Cruise Operator at The Times & Sunday Times Travel Awards and the #1 Ocean Line and #1 River Line in Travel + Leisure’s 2022 “World’s Best” Awards, in which the company became the first cruise line ever to top both categories in the same year. Viking is also rated #1 for both rivers and oceans by Condé Nast Traveller, making it the first cruise line to ever simultaneously earn #1 in its categories from both publications. Additionally, Viking has published a new video about the company’s history and some of the key partners who have contributed to its success, which was shared on board all Viking ships as part of the 25th anniversary celebration.
Liv Arnesen, Godmother of the Viking Octantis
Liv Arnesen is a native Norwegian, educator, cross-country skier, explorer and lecturer. Arnesen led the first unsupported women’s crossing of the Greenland Ice Cap in 1992. The Viking Octantis is named after Sigma Octantis, the south star; Arnesen was chosen as godmother specifically because of her accomplishment as the first woman in the world to ski solo and unsupported to the South Pole. As the godmother of the Viking Octantis, Arnesen will periodically serve as a member of the Viking Expedition Team when sailing in Antarctica and beyond.
“It is an honour to be the godmother of the new Viking Octantis. I have spent significant time in Antarctica and recently had the privilege to return on one of the ship’s first voyages. The region is a special destination for scientists and adventurers, and sailing with Viking is the perfect way to get there,” said Liv.
Ann Bancroft, Godmother of the Viking Polaris
Ann Bancroft, an American polar explorer, educator and author from Minnesota, became the first woman to successfully ski to both poles in 1993. Bancroft also led the first American women’s east to west crossing of Greenland and dogsled 1,000 miles from the Northwest Territories in Canada to the North Pole. The Viking Polaris is named after Polaris, the north star; Bancroft was chosen as godmother specifically because of her accomplishment as the first woman to reach the North Pole by sled and foot. In addition to being the godmother of the Viking Polaris, she is the founder of the Ann Bancroft Foundation to inspire girls and build confidence.
“Growing up in the Minnesota region, the Great Lakes are where I spent my early years becoming an explorer. I am proud to be the godmother of an expedition vessel like the Viking Polaris that will allow guests to visit, not only the Great Lakes, but also Antarctica, two regions that played a pivotal role in my life,” said Ann.
Liv Arnesen & Ann Bancroft Partnership
For more than 20 years, Arnesen and Bancroft have worked together and in 2001, they became the first women to ski across Antarctica. Together they co-founded Bancroft Arnesen Explore / Access Water, an initiative that aims to engage and empower more than 60 million minds to create a sustainable tomorrow.