Along with an additional 4 riverboats, in service already, that weren’t yet officially inaugurated; 9 were christened in Amsterdam, The Netherlands on March 17th; 4 in Rostock, Germany and 3 in Avignon, France just yesterday, March 18th; and two more will follow in Porto, Portugal on March 21st.
Docked and tied alongside each other, the Viking Buri, Viking Hermod and Viking Heimdal were decorated in red and white balloons and festive green garland in preparation, and Torstein Hagen, CEO of Viking Cruises, and seven godmothers were on hand to oversee the event.
As in previous years, some of the vessels were christened remotely and the rest locally. Following their traditional blessing of each ship, the godmothers pressed a buzzer that initiated the release of champagne bottles onto the respective ship hulls. Famed wine personality, Susie Barrie, for instance, blessed the Viking Heimdal from the stage set atop the sun deck.
As impressive as the ceremony itself was, the main event proved to be the celebration and dinner afterwards at the famous Pont du Gard – where a fully-intact Roman aqueduct spans a dramatic river valley. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is truly a sight to be seen, especially as the sun sets and casts a golden hue on the structure.
Viking went all out to erect a temporary restaurant at the base of the Roman icon, complete with exquisite French catering. Live jazz music welcomed us as we gazed upon the ancient stonework, and later Torstein Hagen and the godmothers took to the stage once more to receive gifts from the line and shipbuilder.
The evening’s menu was just superb, and you can’t help but exclaim to yourself, “God bless the French!” when enjoying the local cuisine. After all, the entree was surf and turf, and the dessert was an incredible pecan nut pastry with pear sorbet.
As we dined, internationally regarded vocalist and godmother to the Viking Buri, Mireille Mathieu, performed a beautiful concert of standards in half a dozen or so different languages. It was quite amazing to enjoy such great historical sights and sounds.
I say historic because soon the sights and sounds became fantastically modern with a breathtaking projection display on the Pont du Gard itself. Texture mapping animated the structure as though it were being constructed in light before our very eyes before the colors became psychedelic. Then dozens of flame throwers lining the upper edges rhythmically lit up the night sky. I can’t wait to share the video soon.
To conclude, it’s worth noting that impressive numbers like those mentioned earlier do not go unrecognized. In fact, Guinness World Records was present to confirm that Viking just christened the most ships in a single 24-hour period, beating the line’s own record from last year, and the statistical representative was happy to bestow the certificate accordingly.
What are your impressions of Viking’s latest endeavors? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the “Leave a Reply” section below…
HEADER IMAGE SOURCE: JASON LEPPERT