On May 5, 2016, we christened our second ocean vessel, the 930-guest Viking Sea, in London during a celebration on the Thames River in Greenwich.
After arriving in Greenwich, Viking Sea was positioned in the Thames River with decorated pontoons nearby to welcome guests for various shore excursions around the city. This evening on board, as part of the ship’s christening—or naming—ceremony, guests were treated to a concert from Norwegian soprano Sissel and The Olav’s Choir.
“Today is a proud day for our Viking family. London is one of my favorite cities, and Greenwich is a significant port for Viking. We look forward to bringing more guests here this spring and in future years,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. “Our ships are built for exploration; they are vessels that help our guests spend more time immersed in and surrounded by their destination. With the arrival of our second ship—and with four more sister ships on the way—we are focused on introducing travelers to the Viking way of destination-centered cruising, a unique style that was inspired by our success on the rivers.”
The christening of Viking Sea was the culmination of a maiden voyage that began April 3 when the ship set sail in the Mediterranean. Over the last month, she made stops in what will be regular ports, including Athens, Santorini, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Venice, Rome and Barcelona.
Viking Sea, the second ship in the Viking ocean fleet, is christened in London with a tribute to early Vikings and a brilliant fireworks show.
Understated elegance, world-class service and spacious all veranda staterooms grace Viking Sea, sister ship to the multiple award-winning Viking Star, ranked #1 by Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2016.
Atle H. Knutsen saw his first cruise ship at age six and knew he was destined to be a sea captain. During his 30-plus years on cruise ships, he worked his way up the ranks from deckhand to master and enjoyed a diverse maritime career. Serving as master on Viking Sea is especially meaningful as it carries the name of his hometown of Bergen and the flag of Norway.
Gene Sloan, USA Today
The legacy of the Vikings—their bravery and innovation, their elegant ships and their influence on art and culture—endures in Viking Sea. Inspired by the clean, streamlined designs of those early Viking ships and constructed of materials from the natural world, she embodies the Viking spirit through and through.
In honor of the original Vikings who once explored the British Isles, a Viking battle ax was used to cut the cord for the aquavit christening. The particular broad ax used is a replica of an 11th-century Viking ax discovered in the 1920s when it was dredged from the bottom of the Thames River near the London Bridge. Following the christening and a fireworks show held in the middle of the Thames River, Viking Sea set sail for Bergen, and from there continues to Oslo, Copenhagen, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Helsinki and Stockholm on the popular 15-day Viking Homelands itinerary.
A firm believer in the power of travel to change the world, Viking Sr. Vice President Karine Hagen commits herself to ensuring that all aspects of the Viking experience exemplify our company’s long-cherished values of authentic exploration and learning.
A native of Norway, Karine earned a BA in Economics and Soviet Studies from Wellesley, an MA in Russian and East European Studies from Stanford and an MBA from Handelshøyskolen BI in Oslo. She has spent much of her life in the United Kingdom, United States and Russia, and started her career with Arthur Andersen in San Francisco. Her marketing career began at J. Walter Thompson, and continued in the technology and telecom sectors in St. Petersburg and Silicon Valley before she joined Viking. She is fluent in Norwegian, English, French and Russian, and can confidently converse in three other languages.
Finse, Karine’s traveling yellow Labrador Retriever, is featured in her own children’s book series, The World of Finse, authored by Karine and intended to share discoveries of countries and world cultures with young readers. Finse is unofficially considered the co-godmother of Viking Sea!
Several elements of the christening ceremony paid homage to the company’s Norwegian heritage. Instead of champagne for the traditional bottle-breaking, Viking Sea was christened with a bottle of Gammel Opland aquavit, which hails from the same town in Norway where Torstein’s mother and Karine’s grandmother, Ragnhild—also lovingly known as “Mamsen”—was born. Mamsen’s, the Norwegian deli on board Viking Sea, was also named after Ragnhild, and Gammel Opland was her favorite brand of aquavit.
It was Mamsen’s embrace of life’s basics and nature that made her such a beacon. Sincere and honest, Mamsen was hardworking and liked to keep things simple. In the kitchen and in all things, she was also a perfectionist. Her character embodied the same qualities that we strive to bring to Viking Sea, and to Mamsen’s itself.
In maritime tradition, and along with Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen and his mother, Karine and Finse are honored with Viking Sea’s ceremonial coins—representing four generations of the Hagen family.