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Viking Mars is named in intimate Valletta festivities

PHOTO: VIKING CRUISE_Viking_Mars_naming_Valletta.jpg
Viking EVP Karine Hagen, right, helps cut the ribbon to send a bottle of aquavit smashing against the hull
Lady Fiona Carnarvon, the countess of Carnarvon, officially named Viking Mars during festivities in Valletta, Malta.

The intimate ceremony, attended by friends and business partners of Viking including Maltese officials, took place in Valletta’s Grand Harbour. Lady Carnarvon spoke via video from Highclere Castle, and a bottle of Norwegian aquavit was smashed on the hull.

Norwegian Constitution Day

Since all Viking ocean ships are registered in Bergen, Norway, the event paid tribute to Norwegian Constitution Day, May 17, and featured a performance by Norwegian singer Sissel Kyrkjebø, who served as the godmother for Viking Jupiter in 2020. Valletta is significant to Viking as Malta was one of the first countries to welcome its ships when the company restarted operations in 2021.

Strong ties with the Carnarvons

For years Viking has offered a variety of ways for travelers to experience life at Highclere Castle, the home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon and the historic estate best known as the filming location for 'Downton Abbey.' Viking became a household name during its sponsorship of the celebrated Masterpiece series through the years 'Downton Abbey' aired on PBS.

Viking EVP Karine Hagen worked closely with the Carnarvon family to develop 'Privileged Access' pre- and post-cruise extensions that feature the estate, including the 'Oxford & Highclere Castle' and 'Great Homes, Gardens & Gin' programs. Also, for passengers on the 'Pharaohs & Pyramids' Nile River itinerary, Viking offers the five-day 'British Collections of Ancient Egypt' add-on, which gives an introduction to Egyptian antiquities in preparation for their Nile experience and chronicles Egyptologist Howard Carter and his benefactor, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon.


Naturally, a Viking was on hand, with Karine and Torstein Hagen

'Many of our guests were introduced to both Viking and Highclere Castle while watching "Downton Abbey," and over the years we have continued a close friendship with the Carnarvon family as they have welcomed our guests into their home. We are very grateful that Lady Carnarvon has honored us by serving as godmother of our newest ocean ship,' Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen said.

'For more than a decade, Viking and Highclere have been linked through both "Downton Abbey" and life, and we look forward to continuing welcoming the extended Viking family to explore our home for years to come,' Lady Carnarvon said.

It is her second Viking vessel; Lady Carnarvon is also the godmother of a Viking Longship, the Viking Skadi, which sails the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers.

In lieu of a large-scale event, Viking and Lady Carnarvon jointly decided to celebrate the naming and Viking’s 25th anniversary in a private and more meaningful way, donating £10,000 each to 25 charities covering a spectrum of causes that are important to both Viking and the Carnarvon family.

Eighth in a series

Viking Mars is the eighth identical sister ship in a 47,800gt series.

This week it will begin its maiden season sailing in the Mediterranean, Scandinavia and Northern Europe before repositioning at the end of the year for voyages around Australia and New Zealand.