Viking Longships 2015 Christening: Day 2

Viking River Cruises Christens 12 New Ships in Amsterdam

Viking River Cruises founder Torstein Hagen, center, flanked by some of the Godmothers for the 12 new river cruise ships christened on Tuesday, March 24, 2015. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
Viking River Cruises founder Torstein Hagen, center, flanked by some of the Godmothers for the 12 new river cruise ships christened on Tuesday, March 24, 2015. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

After a morning of touring the beautiful Dutch city of Haarlem, guests returned to Viking River Cruises Viking Skirnir, where the red carpet had been rolled out at the Passenger Terminal Amsterdam for the big event: the christening of 12 brand-new vessels for Viking.

Of those 12, 10 are Viking Longships. The last two – Viking Astrild and Viking Beyla – are “Longship-esque” ships that have been designed specifically for the ultra-shallow Elbe River. To that end, the engineers at the Neptun-Werft yards in Rostock, Germany have performed a maritime hat-trick, creating vessels with just 0.8 metres of draft (hull below the waterline), powered by state-of-the-art pump jets in place of the more traditional propeller-drive propulsion systems.

It was a beautiful day in Amsterdam initially, but even the afternoon chill and rain couldn't keep guests away from the 2015 Viking Longships christening ceremonies! Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
It was a beautiful day in Amsterdam initially, but even the afternoon chill and rain couldn’t keep guests away from the 2015 Viking Longships christening ceremonies! Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

I’ve thought long and hard what the takeaway from these christening ceremonies is. Despite the fact that this is my fourth go-round with Viking –and third here in Amsterdam – I still tear up when those bottles of champagne contact the hull of the Longships. It’s a very moving experience, and I feel as though I am part of the Viking family – as everyone here does, from the company’s travel agent partners to journalists, media, suppliers, and frequent guests.

Guests gather at the Passenger Terminal Amsterdam to witness the christening of 12 new Viking River Cruises ships. No Guinness World Record this year, but an amazing continued achievement nonetheless. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
Guests gather at the Passenger Terminal Amsterdam to witness the christening of 12 new Viking River Cruises ships. No Guinness World Record this year, but an amazing continued achievement nonetheless. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

This year, however, seemed even more special thanks to the line’s beautiful choice of Godmothers: longtime Viking employees, both shoreside and shipboard. Many of these women I have met and or sailed with several times now, including Sinemie Bakker (program director on my Viking Forseti voyage through Bordeaux) and Kornelia Pfeiffenberger, who was Hotel Manager onboard my Viking Freya Christmas Markets Cruise along the Danube back in the winter of 2012. Then, there’s Julie Rosoff – Viking’s fabulous and friendly Sr. Director of Marketing Services.

A sea of red Viking umbrellas actually added a nice touch to the ceremony - as did the spectacular choice of Godmothers. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
A sea of red Viking umbrellas actually added a nice touch to the ceremony – as did the spectacular choice of Godmothers. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

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