Journalist and broadcaster Anne Diamond named Viking’s new ocean ship in a ceremony held in the English Channel.
Reflecting the line’s Nordic heritage, the event coincided with Norway’s Constitution Day. As the ship’s godmother, and in keeping with long-standing naval tradition, she offered a blessing of good fortune and safe sailing for the 930-passenger Viking Venus and cracked a bottle of Norwegian aquavit – rather than Champagne – on the ship’s hull.
She was joined by a group of invited guests for a scenic sailing along the English coast and the unveiling of the Air Fountain centrepiece in the ship’s atrium. It was designed for Viking Venus by internationally renowned artist Daniel Wurtzel, who is best-known for sculptures and installations that incorporate air and lightweight materials that give the appearance of flying.
In addition to commemorating Viking Venus as the company’s newest ocean ship, the event was also an important milestone as Viking returns to service following 14 months of paused operations due to the pandemic.
On Saturday, 22nd May, Viking will be one of the first cruise lines to resume service when the first passengers join Viking Venus in Portsmouth for one of five UK sailings on the England’s Scenic Shores itinerary. Part of Viking’s Welcome Back collection of cruises, the week-long voyages throughout May and June also call in Liverpool, the Isles of Scilly, Falmouth and Portland. Anne Diamond is a guest lecturer on the first three sailings where she will give presentations about the untold story of British radar inventors, including her father, during World War II. The presentation will also be featured on Viking.TV in the future.
Following her time in England, Viking Venus will sail to Malta for Welcome Back voyages in the Mediterranean this summer and autumn.
Constructed at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, Viking Venus is the latest vessel to join Viking’s expanding ocean fleet of identical sister ships, which also includes Viking Star, Sea, Sky, Orion and Jupiter. All 465 cabins on the ship have balconies and all the vessels feature the line’s trademark Scandinavian design and traditional Nordic features, such as a snow grotto in the spa and sauna in the owner’s suite.
Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking, said:
“Today is one of the proudest days in Viking’s nearly 24-year history. When we became the first cruise line to suspend operations in March 2020, we certainly did not know it would be 14 months before guests would be welcomed back on board. Now, we are among the first to set sail again, and with our industry-leading health and safety protocols in place, we believe there is no safer way to travel the world than on a Viking voyage.
“On behalf of the entire Viking family, we are delighted to celebrate the naming of our newest ship in England. We are also grateful to her godmother, Anne Diamond, for her many journalistic and selfless contributions, as well as for her tireless efforts fostering a community on Viking.TV each week for more than a year.”
“It is a huge honour to be chosen as godmother to Viking Venus and to be officially part of the Viking family. Over my many years as a journalist I have reported and been part of many historic events, but I never dreamt I would be godmother to an ocean ship or that I would be celebrating the occasion with my family and friends on board the beautiful Viking Venus on the very first day that we are able to cruise again in the UK.
“It is an unforgettable experience, especially as it marks Viking’s global restart. I am looking forward to many more voyages with Viking, including the upcoming sailings of the England’s Scenic Shores itinerary. I am also looking forward to another year interviewing some of the world’s most fascinating people on Viking.TV.”
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