Journalist and broadcaster Anne Diamond will be the godmother of Viking’s (www.vikingcruises.co.uk) seventh ocean ship which is scheduled to be launched this spring.
The 930-passenger Viking Venus was “floated out” on water for the first-time last June and is now under the final stages of construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy. It is a longstanding naval tradition for new ships to have a godmother to bring good luck to the vessel and Anne Diamond will follow in the footsteps of NASA astronaut Anna Fisher and Norwegian soprano Sissel Kyrkjebo who are among the godmothers for other ships in the Viking fleet.
Anne has been a familiar face on television for 40 years and pioneered the 1991 UK cot death campaign following the death of her son, Sebastian. The drive, urging parents to put babies to sleep on their backs, is credited with saving the lives of more than 20,000 children and inspired other campaigns worldwide. She is the only non-medic ever to hold the Medal of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
More recently Anne has been a key figure on Viking’s weekly award-winning enrichment channel, Viking.TV (www.viking.tv), which went live in March 2020 in the early stages of the pandemic. Conceived to share travel experiences while people were having to stay at home, each Thursday Anne has interviewed a range of people with connections to Viking, including cellist and humanitarian Yo-Yo Ma, the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, the Duke of Devonshire, explorer Robin Hanbury-Tenison, actress Lesley Nicol, polar explorers Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft, and authors Jeffrey Archer, Claire Cook, Robert Harris and Paul Schneider.
Talking about Anne’s turn to be in the spotlight, Karine Hagen, Executive Vice President of Viking, said:
“On behalf of the entire Viking family, we are delighted and honoured to have Anne serve as the godmother of Viking Venus. Since the day we paused operations, Anne immediately volunteered to help our guests and crew manage through this period of uncertainty. As Britain’s favourite face at breakfast and in the morning on British TV, Anne became the face of Viking.TV on her weekly Thursday livestreams, where she has interviewed many interesting friends of Viking, while brightening the days of nearly two million viewers. There is no one more deserving to become the godmother of Viking Venus than Anne.”
“I am thrilled and honoured to be entrusted as godmother to the Viking Venus and cannot wait until we can celebrate her inaugural cruise in a safer and happier 2021. Back in March 2020, at the start of the global lockdown, when I rang my good friend Karine to ask if there was anything I could do, never did I think it might lead to such a fascinating journey. But exhilarating journeys are what Viking is all about! I am so proud to be part of the growth of the award-winning Viking.TV, with special thanks to all my inspirational interviewees, and now onwards, to the Viking Venus and a brighter outlook for travel.”
Known as the ‘River Cruise Queen’, Jeannine Williamson is an award-winning travel writer, cruise expert and our cruise correspondent, who has clocked up thousands of nautical miles.
Photographs courtesy of Viking