Viking marked the company’s 25th anniversary on 30 September with a historic celebration in Amsterdam. To commemorate the milestone, for the first time ever, three classes of Viking ships – a river ship, an ocean ship and the company’s newest expedition vessel, the Viking Polaris – met in Amsterdam and sailed in a special convoy to IJmuiden, Netherlands.
Participating in the convoy with the Viking Polaris were the Viking Longship, the Viking Mani, and the ocean vessel, the Viking Mars.
During the event, Viking also named Viking Polaris and her identical sister ship, Viking Octantis, which is currently sailing her inaugural season in the Great Lakes. Both ships will spend the Austral summer in Antarctica, before traveling north to the Great Lakes for a series of voyages during spring and summer.
“Today is historic for Viking – to celebrate our 25th anniversary, to have all classes of our ships sailing together for the first time, and to name our phenomenal new expedition vessels,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking.
“We are very grateful to their godmothers, Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft, for honouring us. As renowned explorers who became the first women to ski across Antarctica, they are the perfect choice for ships that are designed for expeditions.
“I am very proud of what we have accomplished in our first 25 years. And in our view, we are just getting started. Where do we go next? Onwards,” Hagen said, reiterating comments made in August on the official anniversary date.
Arnesen and Bancroft, the respective ceremonial godmothers of Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, offered a blessing of good fortune and safe sailing for the new ships – with Arnesen offering her blessing remotely via video to the Viking Octantis in the Great Lakes. In keeping with the naming tradition, Arnesen and Bancroft assisted in breaking a bottle of Norwegian aquavit on each of the ship’s hulls.
During the ceremony, guests enjoyed performances from Sissel Kyrkjebø, one of the world’s leading crossover sopranos and godmother of the Viking Jupiter, and violinist Tor Jaran Apold. Guests on all three Viking ships in Amsterdam were able to join in the naming ceremony, as well as witness the historic convoy, from their ships’ respective outdoor viewing areas.
Viking’s 25th anniversary celebration in Amsterdam is the most recent event during a milestone year in which the company has also welcomed to its fleet eight new Viking Longships on the rivers of Europe and new purpose-built vessels on the Mekong, Nile and Mississippi rivers.
By the end of 2022, two new, identical ocean ships will have also joined Viking’s fleet. Earlier this year.
For more than 20 years, Arnesen and Bancroft have worked together and in 2001, they became the first women to ski across Antarctica. Together they co-founded Bancroft Arnesen Explore / Access Water, an initiative that aims to engage and empower more than 60 million minds to create a sustainable tomorrow.
Lead image: A Viking ocean ship, river ship and an expedition ship met in Amsterdam for the first time as part of the company’s 25th anniversary celebration.