Its been a big week for Viking River Cruises. First christening eighteen ships in France, they went on to Portugal, adding two more. At a unique riverside ceremony in Porto, invited guests, politicians and celebrities gathered for the covered red-carpet event, anticipating rain. Against a backdrop of the beautiful Porto skyline with sister-ships Viking Hemming and Viking Torgil nose to nose, the vessels were christened as the usual elements of such occasions played out. But this one was different than other christening ceremonies.
The events of other christening ceremonies have included speeches by dignitaries, Godmothers, champagne bottles broken against the hull and a christening dinner. This one in Porto, Portugal had all that plus the formation of an interesting partnership between the local shipbuilder and Viking River Cruises.
To insure a positive impact on the local economy, Portuguese custom requires a close relationship between the shipbuilder and the cruise line. For another cruise company, that might be a trying relationship. But Vikings came to do business and this is how business is done here. At traditional christening ceremony toasts, that partnership suggested that more ships might be on the way to Portugal in the near future too, and with good reason.
Host to five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Viking Portugal’s Rivers Of Gold itinerary will take cruise travelers up and down the Duoro River for ten days and feature eight included tours. Sailing Porto to Lisbon (or reverse) each sailing will begin with two overnights, a popular element of what Viking does for North American cruise travelers, often jet lagged upon arrival in Europe. More details on that later.
Tonight it was all about the christening ceremony, featuring international Fado singer Ana Moura who filled the christening area with paparazzi, capping the occasion with a set of five songs, well-received by those in attendance. An excellent choice for the event, Moura’s passionate stylings were right in line with both the Portuguese and Vikings in attendance.
We hope it’s a partnership that lasts a good long time, with both parties reaping long-term rewards.
More on the ships-
The design for twin ships Viking Hemming and Viking Torgil was inspired by the popular Viking longships and fans of the same will feel right at home on either. Still, some unique design elements, drawn from both Portugal and Viking’s Scandinavian heritage blend well and will be the subject of a future post.
A quick comparison-
- Viking Longships are 443 feet long with 95 staterooms, 50 crew and 190 guests
- Viking Hemming and Viking Torgil are even more intimate at 262 feet long with 53 staterooms, 36 crew and 106 guests