Godmother Mary Berry is the icing on the cake for Viking’s world record

//Godmother Mary Berry is the icing on the cake for Viking’s world record

The nation’s favourite baker helped Viking Cruises break a Guinness World Record this week for the biggest number of ships inaugurated in one day.
Mary Berry was one of 16 godmothers who christened new Longship river ships in three separate countries. She was in Amsterdam, where nine of the vessels were named, while TV wine expert Susie Barrie was among seven more women naming ships in the French city of Avignon and – remotely – four more in a German shipyard.
Two smaller Viking ships were named on Friday in a separate ceremony on the River Douro in Portugal.
All the ships are named after Norse gods, and when she had smashed the Champagne to christen Viking Alsvin, Mary said: “After spending some time on board I can see why people are so taken with river cruising. As someone who is fascinated by travel, culture and food destinations you certainly get a sense of the Viking spirit on board.”
A celebration dinner was held later in the shadow of the Roman aqueduct at Pont du Gard, in south-west France, with another godmother, singer Mireille Mathieu, putting on a mesmerising performance which defied her 67 years. Viking’s chief executive, Torstein Hagen,stood on the stage to proclaim: “River cruising has come of age.”
His company, founded in 1997, has grown rapidly in the past three years and now has a fleet of 50 ships. Another 12 river vessels are planned for 2015 and it will launch its first ocean cruise ship, Viking Star, in Bergen, Norway, next May.
While the ocean cruise market has grown by an average five per cent a year since 2001, and river cruising by 11 per cent, Viking’s growth has been a remarkable 31 per cent. The ships operate on the Rhine, Main, Moselle and Danube, on the Seine, Dordogne, Garonne, Gironde, Rhone and Saone in France, the Douro in Portugal, and on the Elbe through the Czech Republic and Germany. Viking also has ships in Russia, China, Vietnam and Burma.
The patented Longships design, whose off-centre corridors allow cabins to have full-sized balconies, carry 190 passengers, 30 more than their competitors’ similar-sized vessels. Viking’s own fleet of coaches takes passengers on shore excursions and operate their transfers to and from airports throughout Europe
Hagen added: Virtually all of our capacity or this summer through to October is sold out. The only place where we have any space, and I probably shouldn’t say this, is in Ukraine. I’m gong to have some T-shirts printed that say ‘I was in the Crimea in 2014’,” he joked.
UK managing director Wendy Atkins-Smith said: “It has been great to team up with Mary to launch our new longships. As someone with a reputation for embracing new challenges, she embodies the Viking spirit of exploration, and also the spirit of the curious, experienced travellers who sail with us all over the world.”
The Guinness record, verified by adjudicators in Amsterdam and Avignon, broke Viking’s own record, set when they launched 10 ships in Amsterdam last year.
NOTE: Viking provides complimentary wifi for guests but it proved inadequate for accessing Greybeard’s blog server – so here’s a late catch-up from the week’s events

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:27+00:00 22 March 2014|Cruise Ships|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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